How to achieve happiness through
attitudes toward one's work, one's
fellow men, and one's God
SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
William P. King
' i Library
This volume tells how to achieve happiness
through the simple things of life and
through attitudes toward one's work, one's
fellow men, and one's God. It emphasizes a
homespun, down-to-earth philosophy which
may be applied to anyone's dailv living.
It was written by a man who has attained
happiness, and sets forth the author's phi-
losophy of how happiness may be found
by anyone in his dailv life. Serious things
are treated with a lightness arising out of
true faith, are clarified and made vivid
through apt illustration and anecdote.
This volume will be welcomed by all
whose lives have fallen beneath a shadow,
and whose nerves are taut and f raved. It
offers a proved method for achieving and
maintaining a happy life.
? 16. 1926)
ER 31. 1891)
THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
WILLIAM P. KING
New York • Nashville
THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
By Stone & Pierce
All rights in this book are reserved. No part of the
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Printed in the United States of America
Who Have Gladdened the Hearts of
Mother and Father
Digitized by the Internet Archive
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.— Prov. 17:22
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad.— Luke
Cast thy burden upon the Lord.— Ps. 55:22
Let all your anxieties fall upon him.—/ Pet. 5:7 (Moffatt)
Do not be troubled.— Matt. 6:31 (Moffatt)
Never be anxious.— Phil. 4:6 (Moffatt)
He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, ... to
comfort all that mourn, ... to give unto them beauty for
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for
the spirit of heaviness.— ha. 61:1-3
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.— John
A distinction has been frequently made between "hap-
piness" as dependent on outward circumstances and "bless-
edness" and "joy" as the indestructible qualities of the
inner spirit. It is held that the etymology of "happiness"
indicates that which happens to a person. However, the
scriptural language does not make this distinction, and
the words have a similar meaning of not being conditioned
by externalities. The term "happiness" is used in this
volume in its highest significance. The word "pleasure"
is sometimes employed as synonymous with "happiness"
or "blessedness" or "joy," but it more strictly indicates
physical gratifications. When rightly understood the dec-
laration of John Stuart Mill is verified in human ex-
perience: "Actions are right in proportion as they tend to
produce happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the
reverse of happiness."
8 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
The search for happiness is a universal quest. In many
mistaken ways the multitudes pursue a false trail in
seeking satisfaction. One prevalent error is that happiness
may be found by a direct pursuit. Nathaniel Hawthorne
wrote: "Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes
incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us
a wild-goose chase, and is never attained."
According to a proverb, "The eyes of a fool are in the
ends of the earth." Happiness is never far from us; nor
is there any need to take a journey in search of it. A man
discovered a map with most intricate directions for find-
ing a great treasure, and made a lifelong search, only to
find when his life was spent that the final routing led him
into his own back yard.
Happiness is as close to us as our duty, the by-product
of duty performed. Happiness and duty are inseparably
linked. Duty not only results in happiness, but it is our
duty to be happy. We should repent of our gloom. The
admonition of Jesus is, "Be of good cheer."
Certain theological notions have created a general sus-
picion of happiness, with the idea that it is evil in itself.
The Beatitudes of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount
evidently intend that we should be happy. Happiness
ministers to health, helps us to do better work, creates
friendships, and affords evidence of our faith in God.
In contrast, we have the wail of pessimism. History
and literature abound in lamentations over the misery
of men. Solon was one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece,
but the final conclusion of his wisdom was, "No mortal
man is truly blessed; but all are wretched whom the sun
looks down upon." Simonides laments: "Few and evil are
the days of our lives; but everlasting is the sleep which we
must sleep beneath the earth."
Job sighed in the midst of his misery, "Man that is
born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."
The author of the book of Ecclesiastes looked about
and declared: "All was vanity and vexation of spirit,
and there was no profit under the sun."
Goethe, in his old age, said: "I have ever been con-
sidered one of Fortune's chief favorites; nor can I com-
plain of the course which my life has taken. Yet, truly,
there has been nothing but toil and care; and in my
seventy-fifth year I may say that I have never had four
weeks of genuine pleasure."
According to Voltaire men are "tormented atoms in
a bed of mud, devoured by death, a mockery of fate.
This world, this theater of pride and wrong, swarms
with sick fools, who talk of happiness." Schopenhauer
sounded the pessimistic note, "Life is a misfortune, and
none but the dead are happy."
A psychologist estimates that one fourth of the peo-
ple have more misery than joy and that one out of every
seven has to struggle at least occasionally against the
impulse to commit suicide. It is my earnest desire to
minimize in some measure the sum of human misery.
Free use has been made of the ideas of a number of
writers. Originality may be defined as undetected pla-
giarism. This is doubtless a plagiarism, and I am sure
the following lines are:
He writes best, who steals the most
Ideas both great and small;
For the great mind who wrote them first
From nature stole them all.
If this volume should add something to the sum total
of human happiness, I will be richly rewarded. I trust
that the very solemn reader will not be repelled by the
frequent light touches.
10 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Outside the door at the cathedral at Chester, England,
is the prayer:
Give me a sense of humour, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some pleasure out of life,
And pass it on to other folk.
The bow that is always stretched loses its elasticity.
We have the incident of a woman who got nervous
prostration because at her church they always sang,
"Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve."
A scientist after discovering that cheerful people re-
sist disease better than glum ones remarked, "The surly
bird catches the germ."
In Part Two on "The Foes of Happiness" chapters
could have been added on "Physical Ailments" and
"An Evil Temper." But these two factors of unhappi-
ness are easily obvious, and only brief references are
In Part Three on "The Conditions of Happiness,"
if space had allowed, we could have included chapters
on "Conforming Our Wants to Our Needs" and "Faith
in the Fatherly Love of God." Both of these factors,
however, are recognized throughout the volume. It will
be readily seen that no effort is made to have the chapters
of uniform length.
I am deeply indebted to Dr. Curtis B. Haley for reading
the manuscript and making valuable criticisms and sug-
W. P. K.
The Wrong Trail
I. Fame, Wealth, Pleasure, Power, Knowledge . . 15
The Foes of Happiness
II. The Worry of Life 37
III. The Work of Life 56
IV. The Perplexed Mind 67
V. The Self-Centered Life 79
VI. The Dark Shadow of Fear 97
The Conditions of Happiness
VII. Accepting Ourselves 121
VIII. The Saving Sense of Humor 136
IX. Knowing How to Grow Old 153
X. Memory and Imagination 164
XL Happiness in the Inner Spirit 174
THE WRONG TRAIL
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE,
The search for happiness is universal, but many have
followed false paths in their search. Let us expose first the
principal misleading trails.
The supposition is made that with the achievement of
fame comes contentment. How fleeting is fame in the
light of the passing centuries. It is regarded as a distinction
to be listed in Who's Who or to be a Phi Beta Kappa. How
few of those names will survive for a century! I suspect
my readers would have difficulty in naming all the presi-
dents of the United States.
Those who are leading editors, authors, educators, and
scientists in a century will drop into obscurity. Our little
earthly distinctions soon vanish. If as a preacher you have
won the long-sought-for D.D., it may stand for Dead Duck
or Dignified Dullness. If you are inclined to grow dizzy
over some dazzling position, just think of the fact that
the college presidents, bishops, city pastors, mayors, gov-
ernors, congressmen, senators, military officials, and finan-
cial magnates of today will in less than a century be con-
signed to oblivion. In the United States we average about
one really distinguished man to every half million people.
This would give us today something like two hundred
!6 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
distinguished people. Then as you consider the lapse of
time, not more than two or three of these will stand the
test of the passing of centuries. "Surely every man walketh
in a vain show." The estimate is that sixty billion people
have lived on our earth since the dawn of history. How
few of these have perpetuated their names. "Oh, why
should the spirit of mortal be proud?"
Henry Watterson of Kentucky was assigned by a writer
in the New York Times a secure and abiding renown.
Watterson wrote to a correspondent: "I am a poet myself,
my son. Did you never read my great epic on fame? I
completed only one verse, which reads as follows:
A mound a little higher graded—
Perhaps upon a stone a chiseled name,
A dab of printer's ink soon blurred and faded,
And then oblivion-that, that is fame."
Fame is fickle and transient. Following his famous flight,
Charles Lindbergh within thirty days received 3,500,000
letters, 100,000 telegrams, and 14,000 packages. Eight men
were detailed to sort the Lindbergh mail. In Washington
one entire bus was filled with telegrams; three mail trucks
were stuffed with letters. Ten one-ton delivery wagons
were scarcely sufficient for the packages. Large amounts
were offered him by motion picture producers. Five thou-
sand poems were dedicated to "the conqueror of the air."
In the course of events Lindbergh gave warning of how
thorough was the preparation of Germany for war. He
was accused of being pro-German. A woman remarked
that she knew he was a German because his name sounded
like "Limburger." He expressed his honest but un-
popular notions about the entrance of the United States
into war. Agitation reached a high pitch in Atlanta..
Georgia, over changing the name of Lindbergh Street. A
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 17
newspaper reporter observed that in the lobby of a hotel
Lindbergh received little notice.
You had better not pin your happiness to the praise of
man, "whose breath is in his nostrils." It is entirely
legitimate to bring yourself into public recognition. We
are not to be too backward about going forward, but we
are to avoid a feverish form of self-promotion. You doubt-
less have a valuable contribution to make to the public;
but, if you are debarred, you can regret only that the
public is deprived of the gems of wisdom which you could
have given. Do not pity yourself; pity the stupidity of the
public which has not given you due recognition. Your
satisfaction in life is not to be found in the recognition of
The great spirits of the world have never sought fame.
It has always come unsought and sometimes unwelcome.
The master passion of eminent religious personalities was
to perform the mission to which they were called.
The great scientists have not been concerned with fame.
The joy of achievement that comes from finding some-
thing new in the universe is by far their greatest joy. A
great research scientist is constantly discovering new things
in his field. This is his reward. He knows how to spend
long years in preparation and long hours in investigation
with no thought of public honors.
It requires a modest disposition to say that if nobody
hears of my name, I will not go about blowing my own
horn. There is the legitimate desire for the good opinion
of our fellow men, but a mania for publicity is as un-
satisfying as drinking salt water. According to Mark
Twain, "Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and
the only earthly certainty is oblivion." In vain we seek to
write our name with indelible ink on the pages of history.
You can find your consolation in the absence of a transient
18 THE SEARCH TOR HAPPINESS
fame. It saves you from being interrupted in your rest and
work by being called upon for after-dinner speeches.
Seeking wealth might well be recommended as an ob-
jective for Mammon, but life proves its falseness.
A writer says:
One day I was called to the home of a very wealthy woman.
All I knew about her was her name, address, and that she was
very miserable. It was a gorgeous home and while I sat waiting
for her I was entranced by the costly tapestries and paintings on
the walls. . . . When she entered I said, : 'It must be a great joy
to live here, for God has surely been good to you." A whimsical
smile, full of sadness, came over her face. She . . . said, "I would
take my life in a moment but for the annoyance it might give
my friends, I am fed up with life. It is too much for me. Is
there some place I can go or someone to whom I may turn for
just one day of peace?"
A Wall Street man included in his last will and testament,
actuallv offered for probate in the state of New York, the
To my wife,, I leave her lover and the knowledge that I wasn't
the fool she thought I was. To my son, I leave the pleasure of
earning a living. For thirty-five years he has thought diat the
pleasure was all mine. He was mistaken. To my daughter, I
leave $100,000, She will need it. The only good piece of busi-
ness her husband ever did was to marry her. To my valet, I leave
the clothes he has been stealing from me regularly for the last
ten years. Also mv fur coat that he wore last winter when I was
in Palm Beach, To mv chauffeur, I leave mv cars. He has al-
most ruined them, and I want him to have the satisfaction of
fmishing the job.
Riches have no promise of permanency. In the finan-
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 19
cial debacle of 1929 the promised security turned out to
be illusory. "Riches certainly make themselves wings."
But even if permanence could be guaranteed to wealth, it
utterly fails in producing happiness. In most instances
the man reaches the close of his career with high blood
pressure and a large stack of disquieting memories, and
leaves his millions to soft-handed heirs, who waste life in
Jesus said unto them:
Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life con-
sisteth not in abundance of the things which he possesseth. And
he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain
rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within
himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where
to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull
down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all
my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou
hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat,
drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this
night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those
things be which thou hast provided?
"Miser" and "misery" are from the same root word. A
tourist was walking through an old country churchyard
in England, when he discovered, almost hidden by the ivy,
a plain slab of stone bearing this epitaph:
Here lies a miser who lived for himself,
And cared for nothing but gathering pelf.
Now, where he is or how he fares,
Nobody knows and nobody cares.
The same tourist later visited St. Paul's Cathedral and
observed a plain but massive statue, beneath which was
the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of General Charles
20 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his
strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sym-
pathy to the suffering, and his heart to God."
Jesus warns of the "deceitfulness of riches." Riches de-
ceive both those who have and those who have not.
Wealth promises a satisfaction which it cannot give. I do
not call attention to this deceitfulness through envy of
the rich or as a matter of sour grapes. The indisputable
fact of human life and experience is that the love of money
is a perilous snare of the soul. In 1932 seventy-nine mil-
lionaires committed suicide. Men of wealth had failed to
find in their wealth the happiness their souls craved. Pos-
sibly their minds were unbalanced; but, in any case,
great wealth had not bought happiness. The majority
of people who have taken their lives as the way out have
been men and women who had been accustomed to plenty
and whose resources had not been swept away.
Yet all about us are men and women who are striving
with feverish haste to accumulate some degree of wealth
in the belief that wealth will bring happiness. So certain
are they of this that they are prepared to defy the laws of
God in order to attain the coveted boon.
Carlyle puts the sarcastic question: "Will the whole
Finance Ministers and Upholsterers and Confectioners of
modern Europe undertake, in joint-stock company, to
make one Shoeblack happy?"
A college student who had the misfortune of having
overindulgent parents said: "Well, you know I have al-
ways got what I wanted; and now I find that, when I get
it, I don't want it." The search for happiness in exter-
nalities is as hopeless as the predicament of the man who
lost his glasses. When his neighbor asked what was the
matter, he answered: "I lost my spectacles, and now I can-
not start searching for them until I have found them."
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 21
If one observes the people who are happy and those
who are unhappy, it will be evident that those with, and
those without, material advantages are found in both
groups. Salaries, comforts, and pleasures are quite desir-
able, and are the sources of opportunity. They are not a
guarantee of happiness.
Not money, but the love of money, is a root of all evil.
It becomes a root of all evil when it is made an end in
itself. Avarice is the sin that holds on until death. It
thrives on old age, and men want more money for the
journey of life when less of the journey remains. The
love of money gets an increasing hold on its possessor and
dries up the springs of generosity. It dulls both the social
and the spiritual insight and becomes increasingly self-
centered. No sin except hypocrisy is rebuked by Jesus
with such withering invectives as selfish wealth.
Trying to be happy by means of jazz is like trying to
make a meal out of pickles and pepper. Disillusionment
and disappointment follow in the wake of this false trail.
The news was blazoned out in New York papers in the
summer of 1931 that Ralph Barton, a gifted caricaturist,
had taken his own life. In a letter written for the public,
Barton told of the life that he had lived:
I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from
country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from my-
self. In so doing, I am very much afraid that I have brought a
great deal of unhappiness to those who have loved me. . . . No
one thing is responsible for this suicide, and no one person ex-
cept myself. ... I did it because I am fed up with inventing
devices for getting through twenty-four hours a day.
22 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
In a feverish chase for pleasure, people find themselves
farther away from the end of their pursuit. The society
woman came anxiously to her physician crying: "Doctor,
I want you to help me; I'm all run down." After an ex-
amination the doctor replied: "No, you are not all run
down; the trouble is you are all wound up."
George Jean Nathan, a confirmed cynic, gives expression
to the false philosophy of life:
To me, pleasure and my own personal happiness are all I
deem worth a hoot. The happiness and welfare of mankind are
not my profession; I am perfectly willing to leave them to the
care of the professional missionaries of one sort or another; I
have all that I can do to look out for my own happiness and
Nathan, with his earth-bound sense, is an apt illustra-
tion of "The Tame Old Duck." The old duck had the
advantage over Nathan in that it did have faint as-
pirations left for the upper sky. An apt description is
given in a poem by Kenneth C. Kaufman:
I think my soul is a tame old duck,
Dabbling around in barnyard muck,
Fat and lazy with useless wings,
But sometimes when the North wind sings,
And the wild ones hurtle overhead,
It remembers something lost and dead,
And cocks a wary, bewildered eye,
And makes a feeble attempt to fly.
It's fairly content with the state it's in,
But it isn't the duck it might have been. 1
At last the fleshpots become empty, and the seekers of
mere sensual satisfaction grope among the tombstones of
dead passions. The pleasure seeker exhausts every sensa-
tion and becomes satiated and nauseated. It was said of a
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 23
young millionaire who after a career of dissipation took
his own life: "He died of old age in his youth."
The pleasure seekers who make sensual pleasures ends
in themselves are doomed to unhappiness. The selfish
sensualist is haunted by a vision of the good which he
might have achieved. His only comfort is to persuade
himself that he is not totally evil. He derives a slight spark
of satisfaction in the realization that he has not broken all
of the commandments. The story is told that an army
chaplain preached a forceful sermon on the Ten Com-
mandments. One private, who was left in a serious mood,
in a little while brightened up and consoled himself:
"Anyway I never made a graven image."
A man may be bankrupt in morals with scarcely a
single virtue left, but he will constantly reiterate that he is
not as bad as someone else and that there are certain evils
which he would not do. This is to say that a man's inherent
moral sense holds up before him the ideal of a righteous
life, and that he is unhappy because he has violated the
ideal. So the slim satisfaction is that he has at least a small
scrap of good left. But in the absence of happiness there is
the craving for some excitement or thrill or sensation
which will produce a temporary forgetfulness of life's
The pursuit of pleasure becomes a strenuous task. We
have the story of a cowboy riding gloomily into town on
payday. When asked where he was going, he replied:
"Goin' to town to get drunk; and, gosh, how I dread it!"
Some people give themselves to a form of recreation so
tiring and exhausting that they are in need of rest after
their recreation. When recreation is pursued as an end
in itself, it becomes a painful pursuit of pleasure. The
purpose of pleasure is defeated. Recreation should bring
relaxation and not tension. Recreation should be a re-crea-
1 Level Land, Kaleidograph Press, 1935. Used by permission.
24 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
tion. The pleasure we pursue in our leisure hours should
enhance our physical, mental, and moral fitness. The fact
that the Sabbath is with many people a dissipation rather
than a recuperation has given rise to the saying, "It's a
great life if you don't week-end." There are those who in
the chase after pleasure make it the hardest work in the
world. A woman complained that she spent so much time
playing bridge that she had no time for leisure.
Monte Carlo, which belongs to the principality of
Monaco, is a popular resort for the pleasure-mad group
who find more pain than pleasure. This gives me the
delightful opportunity of saying, "When I was abroad."
We visited the Casino of Monte Carlo where the gamblers
were watching the roulette wheel with one chance to win
against at least twenty-five chances to lose. We saw the
hard metallic faces of men and women who for a time at
least had more money than mind. Some of the hardest, the
most hopeless, and the most joyless faces I have ever seen
were around the gaming tables. I was informed that sui-
cides were very frequent. The bitter defeats, the disap-
pointments, and disillusionments of pleasure seekers would
fill several volumes.
Multitudes today are obsessed by a practical materialism
which ignores the spiritual elements in life. This gives
rise to the mania for pleasure, with all of its fascination
If a tithe of reports is true, sensuality is undermining
the virtue of large numbers of young people. There are
young women who imagine that they have escaped when
there has been the prevention of exposure and shame. But
neither the man nor the woman has escaped. The Word
of God does not say that your sin will be found out, but
that your sin will find you out. There is no exception to
this. It finds you out in your destroyed innocence, in your
guilty memory, in your weakened will. Although you may
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 25
conceal your sin, you injure your own soul and poison
the fountain of genuine joy.
Pile up your sensations; get all the thrills you can;
present your nervous system to every experience that
comes along. When you have completed that process, you
will discover that it has brought you nervous excitement
but not happiness.
Byron sounded the depth of sensual pleasure and wrote
the woeful wail:
Through many a clime 'tis mine to go,
With many a retrospection curst,
And all my solace is to know,
Whate'er betide, I've known the worst,
What is that worst? Nay do not ask,
Through pity from the search forbear,
Smile on nor venture to unmask
And view the living hell that's there.
He demonstrated the truth stated in Proverbs concern-
ing the "strange woman": "Her feet go down to death; her
steps take hold on hell."
In his thirty-third year Byron wrote:
Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,
I have dragged to three and thirty.
What have these years left to me?
Nothing— except thirty-three.
Another poet speaks of banishing good and ill with the
laughter of the heart. But, alas, the gay laughter of the heart
cannot change the moral order of the world. Jesus said
to the woman of Samaria, who had been on the wrong
trail: "No wonder you're a thirsty woman. If you could
only understand! There is living water that stays fresh
and sparkling up to the end of life! You might have it for
the asking and never thirst again."
26 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Consideration has been given to the perversion of
pleasure, which produces satiety but not satisfaction. There
are physical pleasures that are not antagonistic to happi-
ness of spirit. Pleasure and happiness are not inconsistent.
The ascetic is in error when he opposes all pleasure.
Pleasure when under moral control enhances happiness.
God "giveth us richly all things to enjoy."
Men have sought for satisfaction of life in acquiring
power. Run over your list of dictators through the cen-
turies, and you find a group of miserable men. The latest
conspicuous example is Adolf Hitler, whose mind was a
seething caldron of bitterness, hate, and revenge; and no
one thinks of him as having won happiness. Those who
reach position of power are in constant fear lest their hold
on those whom they dominate be weakened or lost.
The financial magnates live in uneasiness through a
dread of financial upheavals that will mean loss of their
fortunes. The political despots have a gloomy anticipa-
tion that the subservient masses may throw off the yoke
of oppression. They are suspicious of treachery and the
fatal blow of an assassin, and must be strongly guarded.
They have the consciousness that sooner or later they will
have to pay the penalty for the perversion of power. The
very possession of absolute power means that it will in-
variably be perverted.
The modern tyrant can say with the Roman tyrant
Tiberius, "I hold a wolf by the ears." This perversion of
power not only fails to produce happiness in the possessor
but results in unhappiness to many others. The fact, how-
ever, must be recognized that power is one of the in-
gredients of happiness. The power which Jesus possessed
to bring joy to other lives and which we possess in a less
measure is conducive to our happiness.
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 27
Power belongs to the human personality as a conse-
quence of man's endowment of freedom. Through this
power man either develops or degrades his personality.
With this power he brings either weal or woe to fellow
human beings. Apart from this freedom man could not
achieve a character capable of happiness, and with this
freedom perverted he becomes a misery-producing agency,
That which belongs in common to the three specific temp-
tations of Jesus was the temptation to misuse his power.
This is in reality the essence of all temptations; and, when
yielded to, power becomes a blight rather than a blessing.
Despite the promise of glory and triumph, dictators at
last go down in defeat. Napoleon died a miserable death
in enforced exile. Mussolini aspired to be another Caesar.
In his pompous pride, he made the attempt to supplant
the world-accepted calendar with the date of his march on
Rome. In his last moments he vainly cried, "No, no," as
he was executed by a firing squad of his own countrymen.
His body, together with that of his mistress, was hung head
downward on the square of Milan. Hitler's ambition was
to dominate the world. In all probability he was a suicide,
his body burned and buried in the ruins of Berlin. His
Reich, which he boasted would last for a thousand years,
is in ruins. These dictators found their "purples rent
asunder, disinherited of thunder."
A state founded on violence and terror and falsehood
is doomed. History is strewn with the wrecks of nations
that violated the principles of justice. The misuse of power
has brought disaster and defeat to the most powerful na-
tions. The victorious nations today, including our own,
in the pride of victory face the peril of perversion of
power. If they fail to employ their military, political, eco-
nomic, and scientific power in the service of justice and
human freedom, they will be sowing the seed of future
misery for the world.
28 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Practical science through the utilization of steam and
electricity has lifted many burdens from the shoulders of
men and women and has ministered to human comfort in
a thousand other ways. The achievements of science have
freed men from much drudgery through labor-saving
Science has immensely augmented physical power. Mod-
ern scientific discoveries have immeasurably added to
human power, which has outrun moral control. As a result
these scientific achievements are proving to be more pro-
ductive of human misery than of human happiness. It is
fearful to contemplate the havoc that was wrought by
bombing planes and all of the improved implements of
war. Power rightly used ministers to human comfort and
security, but power perverted is destructive of comfort
and security. Mere power, unregulated and uncontrolled,
cannot produce happiness.
The world's population of about two billion is increas-
ing twelve million annually. With an application of prac-
tical science the earth could possibly support eight billion
people. But there can be no freedom from suicidal strife
unless the minds of men are under moral and spiritual
An estimate is that the electric power used in the
United States is equal to the physical equivalent of 150
slaves for each member of the population.
In the textile industry one workman with a machine
produces as much yarn as 45,000 did formerly. In the
manufacture of boots and shoes, one machine takes the
place of 250 men. In ditch-digging one huge steam shovel
can do the work of 400 men. One machine today makes
as many glass tubes as were formerly made by 600 glass
This use of laborsaving machinery is only a small part
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 29
of the total picture. This increase of mechanical power,
though largely adding to the wealth of the nation, has not
resulted in an equitable distribution of wealth. It has not
brought about an answer to the prayer, "Lord give me
neither too little nor too much."
The power of applied science can either deepen the
misery or heighten the happiness of vast numbers of peo-
ple. It has on the credit side shorter hours of labor, more
leisure, and a larger opportunity for self-improvement. On
the other hand we have unemployment and the abject
poverty of the slums. The verdict of Stuart Chase is that
on the whole the machine is a benefactor, but makes robots
of many and may become a Frankenstein if we do not find
a better way of managing the complex things it has created
In brief this power of practical science may be either a
boon or a bane. It is only as this power is put under moral
and spiritual control that it can result in the welfare and
weal of the people. The way of happiness is not found in
financial power nor in the power of practical science nor in
political power. With some measure of exaggeration Lord
Acton said, "Power always corrupts, and absolute power
The latest and most revolutionary discovery and use
of power is the atomic bomb. We are informed by scien-
tists that atomic energy is thirty million times more
powerful than TNT.
The method of warfare, if war continues, will be entire-
ly changed. It will avail nothing to put our young men
into the goose step when a bomb can destroy a whole army
or city. Regret has been expressed that scientific discovery
was not destroyed in its birth. We are convinced, however,
that scientific progress is an expression of the mind and
the will of God, but not the employment of science for
destructive purposes. The devil is not smart enough to
30 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
have wrested this secret from nature. It is the will of God
that this power should fulfill a constructive function.
There belongs to the future the employment of this
power in various ways for the well-being and happiness of
mankind. Only the moral and spiritual transformation
of men will prevent the perversion of the power. Will this
revolutionary scientific discovery prove to be a deterrent
of war? The atomic bomb with its future development
will not be the exclusive possession of any one nation or
group of nations. If spiritual progress lags behind scientific
progress, we have no assurance of the long continuance of a
civilized world. It must be one world, or we will have no
world. The choice belongs to mankind to bring into ex-
ercise a spiritual power that is more powerful than the
marvelous power of science. This is the power of love,
the Golden Rule that shall bind the nations together in the
unity of brotherhood and peace.
As desirable as it is to know, knowledge alone fails to
bring rest of soul. A knowledge without faith as it con-
fronts the magnitude of the universe and the mysteries of
life simply adds to man's misery. Some of the keenest
intellects have been most wretched.
It's no in books, it's no in [lore],
To make us truly blest;
If happiness hae not her seat
And centre in the breast
We may be wise, or rich, or great,
But never can be blest.
"He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
This is not the wail of a false pessimism, but this declara-
tion has been verified by all the centuries of human ex-
perience. One may possess knowledge without possessing
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 31
happiness, but knowledge is conducive to happiness when
followed by obedience. "If ye know these things, happy
are ye if ye do them." A knowledge of the vital fundamen-
tals of the Christian faith concerning God, Jesus Christ,
and immortality is necessary to peace and security of mind.
The heart is enraptured as some new light breaks forth
from the word of God. The mathematician thrills with de-
light as the long-sought solution of some problem flashes
on his mind. The inventor is gladdened when his toil is
rewarded by some useful invention. The astronomer, when
he discovers a new planet or star, experiences the happi-
ness of knowledge.
When the medical scientist discovers some remedy for
a destructive malady, he has a joyful satisfaction because
relief is brought to the afflicted.
An earlier generation had mastered smallpox, but in our
own lifetimes we have seen the conquest of yellow fever,
diphtheria, typhoid, scarlet fever, hookworm, typhus, and
other scourges of mankind. There has also been further
progress in anesthesia, and great reduction in the risks of
childbearing and of infancy. Pasteur's far-reaching dis-
covery of the effects of germs from the air upon wounds
has opened the way for great advances in surgery.
The discovery of insulin for diabetes is one of the
recent achievements of medical science. Also recent is the
use of sulfa drugs and penicillin, which have largely re-
duced the death rate in cases of pneumonia and influenza.
These drugs have practically removed the danger from
infection. More than three fourths of the men who re-
ceived abdominal wounds in the first World War died as a
result of infection. After the Pearl Harbor attack infec-
tion was almost negligible. There were no amputations
because of infected wounds. In the first World War 47
per cent of the amputations were necessary because of in-
fection. Thousands, and in the long run millions, of lives
32 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
will be saved as the result of this great medical discovery.
Dr. Donald Ross was a deeply religious man, and as he
began his investigation of malaria he made this prayer:
The painful faces ask: Can we not cure?
We answer: No, not yet— we seek the laws.
O God, reveal through all this thing obscure
The unseen, unknown, million-murdering causel
For three years Dr. Ross worked tirelessly, and then made
an announcement of almost incalculable significance. He
said— and accompanied his statement with ample scientific
proof— that malaria is caused by a microorganism which
gains access to the blood stream. This microorganism is
invariably spread by a certain species of mosquito.
We cannot begin to estimate the joy and gladness which
have been brought to human life by these and other well-
known contributions of medical knowledge. We are grate-
fully to recognize that knowledge is an ingredient of happi-
ness, but knowledge alone falls short of the goal of happi-
ness. Dr. H. H. Farmer in The World and God advances the
idea that every fresh achievement becomes a new instru-
ment and opportunity for sin to use. Even the ministries
of medicine can be used to ward off the consequences of
wrong living and give new latitude to the evil will.
The old Greek conception was that knowledge and
virtue are synonymous. This idea is contradicted by hu-
man experience. We are familiar with the proverbial
knowledge and wisdom of Solomon: "For he was wiser
than all men. . . . And he spake three thousand proverbs:
and his songs were a thousand and five." The Queen of
Sheba was impressed: "It was a true report that I heard
... of thy wisdom." And yet the biblical record is that
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines— 699 wives
and 300 concubines too many. "For it came to pass, when
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE 33
Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart
after other gods."
It was said of Francis Bacon, "He was the wisest and
meanest of mankind." Knowledge, like power, may be
perverted. Germany stood at the top among the educated
nations, and yet reached the bottom in baseness and moral
depravity. Learning of itself does not make men religious
or direct their conduct into moral channels. It has often
happened that the most learned men have been egoistic
and selfish. "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth."
Woodrow Wilson said, "In Washington some men grow,
while others just swell." Some of the most consummate
villains of our nation are university graduates.
The admission may be made that knowledge does con-
tribute to happiness. "Happy is the man that findeth
wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."
While much study proves to be a weariness to the flesh,
yet it is through good literature that our minds and
spirits are enriched. Through books we have access to the
great minds of the past and the present. The masters in
science, philosophy, poetry, and religious thought bring
their valued treasures. The historians, biographers, and
essayists add their contribution. But knowledge has its
limitations as a happiness-producing factor. The author
of Ecclesiastes gave expression to what is sometimes all too
true: "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
The further fact is that, even with the abundant opportu-
nity of gaining knowledge, the area of our knowledge is
We are to recognize this limitation of our knowledge
and reconcile ourselves to it. The little girl, having gone
halfway through her primer, came from school and said,
"Mama, does I know as much now as I don't know?" We
do not know as much as we do not know. For the man who
does not know as much as he does not know and knows
34 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
that he does not know as much as he does not know, there
is hope. The man who does not know as much as he does
not know and does not know that he does not know as
much as he does not know is hopeless.
We are not to profess a knowledge which we do not
possess, nor are we to be disturbed over mysteries that we
cannot solve. We are to avoid an intellectual pride over
knowledge that puffs up and freely to admit our limita-
tions. The explanation needs to be made that the different
paths of "The Wrong Trail" are not antagonistic to hap-
piness. Fame, wealth, pleasure, power, and knowledge are
not in themselves evil. They become evil and result in
unhappiness only as they are selfishly pursued as ends in
THE FOES OF HAPPINESS
THE WORRY OF LIFE
Some people are habitually grouchy and always have
something to whine about. The old farmer, when con-
gratulated on the fine crops, said: "Yes, but it's mighty
trying on the soil." An old woman is quoted as saying: "I
feel very well; but when I feel well, I always feel bad, for
I know I am sping^ to feel worse afterward." Another
woman, questioned about her husband, replied: "He's
been enjoying poor health, bat he is complaining of feeling
There is something kinder pitiful about the man who growls
Because the sun beats down too hard, because the west wind
Who never eats a meal but what the cream ain't thick enough,
The coffee ain't been settled right, or else the meat's too tough.
Poor chap, he's just the victim of fate's oldest, meanest trick;
You see, by watching mules and men, it don't take brains to
THE USELESSNESS OF WORRY
We fail to accomplish anything through worry. "Which
of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his
stature?" An ordinary intelligence should recognize the
futility of worrying over matters we can help, or worrying
over matters we cannot help.
We should never attempt to bear more than one kind of
trouble at once. Some people bear all three kinds: all they
38 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.
To fret about that which is gone is worse than futile.
Shakespeare is true to our experience when he says:
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone,
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
All the grieving in the world cannot change the things
that are past. All the sighs and moans and tears and re-
grets that you can pile up are powerless to change one iota
of what has taken place in the irrevocable past. To face
fairly this fact and accept the finality of the past will
relieve us of useless anxiety. We are to take the energy
and concern and thought that are misdirected toward an
unchangeable past and to direct them toward making a
better present and a still better future. For the buried
past, there is no resurrection. It is utterly useless to spend
two successive moments in bewailing the irrevocable past.
The lament is voiced in the familiar lines:
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
In vain we say, "Backward, turn backward, O Time, in
your flight." There are two days which we should not
worry over— yesterday and tomorrow.
To fret about the future is equally as useless as to worry
over the past. The words of Jesus are directed against
this futile form of anxiety. "Be not therefore anxious for
the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." We can deal
with the future only as it becomes the present. When we
try to anticipate the future, we are prone to magnify its
But the chronic worrier is bound to worry. He will
worry for fear that he may worry.
THE WORRY OF LIFE 39
I joined the new Don't Worry Club
And now I hold my breath.
I'm so scared for fear I'll worry
That I'm worried most to death.
The only escape from the fixed habit of worry is to recog-
nize our responsibility for the habit and to exercise our
wills against it
The little girl said, "I have had such a happy day, mother,
happier than yesterday."
The mother asked "Why is it so different from yester-
The reply was, "Well, yesterday my thoughts pushed me
around; today I pushed my thoughts around."
We can persistently refuse to indulge in the various
forms of anxiety which we know are of no avail. An
Irishman said: "There are so many dangers from the
cradle to the grave, it is a wonder that any of us ever live
to reach the grave." We are not to try to carry a load that
only God is strong enough to bear.
I have not seen as much trouble as some people; I have
seen more trouble than some other people. But I could
not have gone through the years if I had added to present
responsibilities, regrets over the past and anxieties for the
future. Whatever difficulties beset you, you can always
hold out a little longer. You never know what is just
around the corner. So many times when you seem to be
approaching a blind alley, it opens up into a broad avenue.
If you should come in this life to a dead-end street, it will
open up into a golden street on the other side.
THE SINFULNESS OF WORRY
Worry fails to recommend our faith to others. We
misrepresent the love and goodness of God when our own
lives are unhappy and our faces are drawn into hard
40 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
knots of care. We have the safeguard against evil only
when we have an inward satisfaction of life. It must be
said to the credit of Christian Scientists that they do not
brood over their ailments, whether real or imaginary.
They do not talk about their sickness. They refuse to
mope and whine. They obey the injunction of Jesus, "Be
not anxious." We are prone to worry over many matters
that are trivial. The keen observation has been made that
it is hardly possible to exaggerate the unimportance of
When one possesses health and sanity and a good con-
science, it is nothing short of ingratitude to worry over
things that are incidental. And even if you do not possess
physical health, nothing is gained by worry.
For every evil under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try and find it,
If there be none, never mind it.
THE INJURY OF WORRY
The physical harm that results from worry can hardly
be exaggerated. Worry produces indigestion and stomach
disorders. Dr. W. C. Alvarez, of the Mayo clinic, said:
"Ulcers frequently flare up or subside according to the
hills and valleys of emotional stress." One patient of Dr.
Alvarez is in the fur business, and Dr. Alvarez said that
his ulcers always become worse about November 1 when
the women in town all rush to his office to get their coats
out of storage. Another patient developed ulcer when he
lost his money but later became well when his uncle died
and left him $50,000. The observation has been made
that, when stocks go down, diabetes goes up. Injury is
inflicted on the mind. Brooding over trouble, offenses,
and criticisms results in nervousness and insanity. Anxiety
THE WORRY OF LIFE 41
stunts the growth of the spirit. The soul cannot grow in a
troubled atmosphere. "Be not . . . anxious for the morrow."
CAUSES OF WORRY
We are familiar with the admonition against a purpose
which is below our possibilities. We are likewise prone to
aspire to attainments that are beyond our power and to
think of our capacities more highly than we ought to
think. We assume responsibility for what is beyond our
control and doom ourselves to misery because we cannot
achieve what is outside the range of our talents.
The distraction of multiplied cares results in tension
and strain. These multiform anxieties have been classified
as: worries about disaster which never happens, 40 per
cent of all anxieties; worries about decisions made in the
past, 30 per cent; worries about possible sickness and a
possible nervous breakdown, 12 per cent; worries about
children and friends 10 per cent; and worries that have a
real foundation, possibly 8 per cent of the total.
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived;
But what torments of pain you endured
From evils that never arrived!
The causes of worry are too numerous for separate
notice. One further cause that may be mentioned is an
overanxious concern as to the results or lack of results of
our work. Our obligation is to be faithful in the task
which God has committed to us and leave the results
with him. God does not hold us responsible for results
so long as our duty is done. Jean Ingelow expresses a true
philosophy of living:
I am glad to think
I am not bound to make the wrong go right;
42 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
But only to discover, and to do
With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints.
The chronic worrier is disturbed by small trivialities.
Dr. Fosdick tells of a woman who had a supersensitive
conscience about "every idle word." Her conversation
dried up, and she ceased to visit.
Blue is all right in the sky,
It is all right in a maiden's eye,
But if you let it enter you,
It will kill you by and by.
A very common cause of trouble is anticipating trouble.
Better never trouble Trouble
Until Trouble troubles you;
For you only make your trouble
Double-trouble when you do;
And the trouble— like a bubble-
That you're troubling about,
May be nothing but a cipher
With its rim rubbed out.
Jesus bids us not be overanxious because that kind of
worry is foolish and futile. Do not cross the bridge before
you come to it because you may never come to it; and if
you do, it is not likely to collapse. Nine tenths of the
things we fear never materialize.
A story is told of a preacher of this worrying sort. He
lived in New Jersey. He was going over to downtown New
York to preach one Sunday morning. True to his habit of
anticipating all possible trouble, he wrought himself up
lest he should miss the ferry and be late for the service.
When he reached the pier, sure enough there was the ferry
THE WORRY OF LIFE 43
boat four or five feet away. In his anxiety to get aboard
he flung first his umbrella and then his grip, and finally
made a tremendous leap himself, his long coattails flying
behind. But the gentleman who caught him and saved
him from falling surprised him by saying: "You idiot,
this boat is not going out; it's coming in."
The agitated preacher reminds one of the awful ex-
perience of Sancho Panza, who hung half the night by his
fingers from a window ledge with a terrible abyss yawning
beneath him. When dawn came, he found that his feet
were but a few inches from the ground.
A FEELING OF INSECURITY
The very exceptional characters have retained their
peace of mind despite circumstances that threatened their
physical safety. While the assurance of security is not a
guarantee of happiness, yet with the average person the
absence of a feeling of safety makes security of mind im-
Multitudes of people are haunted by a realization of
economic insecurity. Ideally it is true that our stalwart
saints have not been dependent on material circumstances
for a joy that is beyond the reach of outward forces. But
while average individuals are not made happy by eco-
nomic sufficiency, they become miserable over the prospect
of hunger and want.
In the main, material well-being is a necessary element
in contentment of spirit. We can scarcely expect that the
unemployed with those who are dependent on them will
enjoy life when they have no certainty of bread for to-
morrow. Average people of average goodness possess no
such spiritual wealth as to make them joyful when con-
fronted by material want. But despite the lack of material
security, we should realize that there are spiritual values
that are forever secure.
44 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Said the robin to the sparrow:
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so."
Said the sparrow to the robin:
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me."
LOOKING AT THE BRIGHT SIDE
The motto of the sundial is, "I record only the un-
Bill Fox may well be called the champion optimist. He
was sitting on the roof of his house during a flood, watch-
ing the water flow past, when his neighbor who owned a
boat rowed across to him.
"Hello, Bill," said the man.
"Hello, Sam!" replied Bill pleasantly.
"All your fowls washed away this morning?"
"Yes, but the ducks can swim."
"Orange trees gone too?"
"Yes, but everybody said the crop would be a failure,
"I see the river's reached above your windows, Bill."
"That's all right, Sam," was the reply. "Them windows
I am not advocating any Pollyanna optimism, but the
viewpoint that looks for the hopeful outlook and that
searches for the light, even in darkness.
Browning sounds the note of hope:
My own hope is, a sun will pierce
The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
That, after Last, returns the First,
Though a wide compass round be fetched;
THE WORRY OF LIFE 45
That what began best, can't end worst,
Nor what God blest once, prove accurst.
The same idea, in a lighter vein, is expressed by Robert
Loveman, a Georgia poet:
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining daffodils;
In ever)' dimpled drop I see
Wild flowers on the hills.
The clouds of gray engulf the day
And overwhelm the town;
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining roses down.
We fail to look on the bright side when we fail to
exercise the art of appreciating the good things we possess.
W r e are prone to take the gifts and blessings of God as a
matter of fact. Why not consciously enjoy our enjoyments?
An Irishman engaged a luxurious room at a hotel and
asked to be awakened at five o'clock next morning. He did
this for the joy of assuring the clerk that he "didn't have
to get up." Why not enjoy life before the darkening
shadows of death settle down upon us? Why not enjoy our
friend before his voice is forever hushed in this world?
Why not enjoy our religion with the freshness of apprecia-
tion each day, as fresh as the mercies of God? Why not
enjoy home before some members of the family leave us
for the wide world outside, or for the wider spaces of the
Strange, we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown;
Strange, that we should slight the violets
Till the lovely flowers are gone;
46 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Strange, that summer skies and sunshine
Never seem one half so fair
As when winter's snowy pinions
Shake their white down in the air.
You are to dispel from the spirit the two dark demons of
grouchiness and gloom by acting against the feelings. If,
when arising in the morning, you are in a melancholy
mood, feeling worried and blue, stand before the mirror
and practice a pleasant expression. When it is set, you can
start out for the day and your good cheer will be con-
Volitional activity has its bearing on one's state of
mind. The truth was expressed in a slightly exaggerated
form by William James, who said in effect that a person
does not run because he is scared, but is scared because
he is running. The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our
spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully,
look around cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness
were already there. To feel brave we should act as if we
were brave and use all our will to that end, and courage
will likely replace fear. To wrestle with a bad feeling only
pins our attention on it, whereas if we act as if from some
better feeling, the bad feelings soon
. . . fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
When knowledge stops short of action, it fails to reach the
haven of happiness. Jesus constantly emphasized the neces-
sity of obedience to the will of God. When some of his
hearers pronounced a blessing on a human kinship to him,
he said, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word
of God, and keep it,"
THE WORRY OF LIFE 47
DISPENSING GLADNESS OR GLOOM
There are many people who are adepts at dispensing
gloom and diffusing unhappiness. They dwell on the dis-
agreeable things— their own personal woes, the latest scan-
dal—and they always succeed in stirring the disagreeable
emotions. The mood of gloom and melancholy is not an
individual affair. It is contagious, as happiness is.
While happiness is not won by a direct chase, yet it is a
duty to comply with the conditions that make it a reality.
The purpose of Jesus is that his followers should be happy
even in the midst of the world's tribulations. He has much
to say of peace and joy and freedom from anxiety.
Ours is a singing faith. "Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing." Henry Ward
Beecher pronounced the New Testament a book of in-
finite joy. Christianity has properly been called the most
joyous of all the religions of mankind. Its keynote is "good
tidings of great joy." Jesus Christ was a "man of joy, and
acquainted with bliss," even more than he was a "man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief." "For the joy that was
set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame."
To look on the faces of men and women, even in Chris-
tian congregations, sometimes gives one the impression
that nothing could be caught from them except the dumps!
One of the marks of the man who knows Christ's presence
is the possession of a great joy that shines through his eyes
and radiates from his entire personality, advertising the
nature of religion better than any words. Blessed are the
happiness-makers, for in bringing joy to others their own
joy is increased.
The promise of Jesus to his disciples is, "Your joy no
man taketh from you." This is the sadly missing element
in the lives of many professing Christians today. Their
lives are as fretful and disturbed as if Jesus had never
48 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
promised the grace of joy. We need to recapture this lost
radiance. The loss of it and the lack of it involve a twofold
peril. The first is that without this inner happiness, our
own characters are not safe. The allurement of sensual
pleasure becomes strong and subtle; and, having no in-
ward satisfaction, we are prone to seek it from outside
sources. The second peril is that with a gloomy spirit we
fail to commend our gospel to the outside world.
In contrast with a hard, cheerless religion, Jesus places
emphasis on the joyful life as the secret of victory. His in-
junction is: "Be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad counte
nance: for they disfigure their faces." "If you worry you'll
get a wrinkle. Why not smile and get a dimple?"
Dr. Weatherhead relates his experience in a hospital. A
companion was an old army officer. The nurse was very
pleasant, but would sometimes say "damn" when she
dropped the thermometer. Dr. Weatherhead said that the
old chaplain wore the most woebegone expression and
talked in such sepulchral tones that he would feign sleep
when he saw the chaplain approaching. The army officer
remarked that both the nurse and the chaplain were not
what they should be, but that he had rather be in hell
with the nurse than in heaven with the old chaplain.
Some people are adepts at dispensing gloom. The incident
is related of the man who visited his sick friend in an attic
and said to him: "Bill, they will have a hard time getting
your coffin down these stairs." The person is not uncom-
mon who will say to a sick friend, "I knew a person with
your symptoms, and he died in a short time."
Dr. C. F. Wishart in a little volume, The Book of Day,
relates the incident of a young Scotch preacher who lived
up the river seven miles from his church. There came a
Sabbath when the snowdrifts made the road impassable
and the young man skated down the river to his church
service. Haled before the bar of his presbytery for break-
THE WORRY OF LIFE 49
ing the Sabbath, his defense was that only by skating down
could he keep his preaching appointment. The moderator
said: "Young man, there is just one question. Did ye, or
did ye not, enjoy the skatin'?"
A faith that does not make for happiness is a false faith
based on superstition and bad theology. The story is told
that, when a man with a clerical appearance was asked if
he was a preacher, he replied: "No, it is indigestion that
makes me look this way."
It is our obligation rightly to represent the joy and
radiance of the Christian faith. The agent who offers a
panacea for physical ailments should at least be a fair
physical specimen and free from the ills which he claims
his medicine will cure. It is a poor advertisement of the
gospel for a professing Christian with a sad, woebegone
expression and a melancholy tone to urge his faith upon
another by virtually saying, "See what the gospel has done
for me." The other person is prone to say, "Well, if it has
done that to you, it might do it to me; and I beg to be
It is only as we learn the secret of happiness that we can
radiate happiness. The suggestive couplet expresses the
difference between two types of people:
Some people bring happiness wherever they go,
Some people bring happiness whenever they go.
It was rather an ambiguous statement when the speaker, in
making a presentation gift to a pastor, said: "He was a
diligent visitor among his people, and many homes were
happy when he left." The meaning evidently was that the
preacher radiated happiness. One's happiness is always
enhanced as he brings joy to the lives of other people.
Walk up and down the main street of your town, and
watch the faces of the people as they pass you. The majority
are haggard, worried, and nervous.
50 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
The observation has been made that a new type of
surgery has developed during the last few years— plastic
surgery. People who acquire too many wrinkles go to
such a surgeon and have their faces lifted. You may need
to have your face lifted, but do not go to a plastic surgeon.
Go to church instead and offer praises to God. Think
through what you are doing to be thankful for. Go out
and live it during the coming week, and your friends will
hardly know you. For if you lift up your heart, you will
lift up your face; and if you lift up your face, you will
draw people from every walk of life to seek the secret of
the good news you have found.
Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say,
Rejoice." Some Christians act as if they lived on a diet of
sour pickles. They are afflicted with hyperacidity of the
spirit. Genuine Christian experience so acts upon a man's
mind that the barriers to the enjoyment of life are re-
moved; and even in trouble and adversity and pain, his
inner song sings on. He sees and knows the stern hardship
of life; but, within, there is something which keeps alive
the thrill and delight of living. He has gained the ability
to enjoy life.
It's better to shout than to doubt,
It's better to rise than to fall,
It's better to let the glory out,
Than to have no glory at all.
TAKING LIFE IN THE LUMP
A further principal cause of worry is looking at life in
the lump. Those of my readers who are ancient enough to
have used as textbooks McGuffey's readers will remember
the story of the old clock on the mantelpiece which sud-
denly stopped. In the ensuing dialogue, it was found that
the clock had become discouraged at having enumerated
THE WORRY OF LIFE 51
the number of times it would have to tick in a year—
31,536,000 seconds in a year. When told that it would
have to tick off only one second at a time, the old clock
regained its morale and resumed its duties.
My friend Dr. Gilbert T. Rowe is authority for the in-
cident of the man who at forty-five counted the number
of times he would have to tie and untie his shoes if he
should live to be seventy years of age— and committed
Dr. Rufus Jones told the story of a boy in the primer
class who was being taught the alphabet. Pointing to a
large A, the teacher said to him, "Say A." The boy did not
answer. The teacher repeated the instruction, "Say A."
Then the boy replied, "I am not going to say A; for, if I
say A, you will want me me to go on and say B." There
seemed to be an awful lot of letters between A and Z,
and the prospect frightened him.
No man is able to carry the weight of all the future,
and how tragical are the breakdowns which result from
the attempt. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
And sufficient unto the day is the good thereof. It would
require more than the strength of an Atlas to crouch
under the burdens of the past and future, along with the
required burdens of the present. We are under the obliga-
tion of doing only the duty which belongs to the present
Ezra, in The British Recorder, gives a story which fur-
ther illustrates the truth we wish to impress:
When Dr. Russell Maltby was in Brisbane, he told the folk
a story which he said was true because he made it up himself.
It was about Peter Blossom, an English plumber, who had the
flu during a great freeze. When he was getting better he had a
depression of spirits, and he sat in bed one night and calcu-
lated what would happen if the thaw came. He calculated that
there would be 2,156,891 burst pipes in the whole of England.
52 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
In the morning the thaw came. A lady came to him and said,
"Will you come as quickly as you can? My pipes have burst."
Peter Blossom said to her: "Madam, do you know that there
are 2,156,891 burst pipes in the whole of England?"
The telephone rang, and someone else asked him to come
along, and he told them the same thing, until he could not
bear it any longer, and he said to himself: "This is too much.
I will go and drown myself." On the way a man ran out of the
house and saw Peter Blossom, and said: "You are the very
man I want to see. There are twelve burst pipes in my house."
Peter said to him: "I am on my way to drown myself. Do
you know that there are 2,156,891 burst pipes?"
The man took Peter by the collar, and said to him: "You
will mend my pipes, and after that you can drown yourself in
my bathtub if you like."
So Peter went into the man's house and mended one pipe,
and then he mended another, and he began to get into the
spirit of it because it was his work, and he mended them all;
and he went out of the house more cheerful. He went from
house to house and mended pipes all day. At the end of the
day he wended his way home to his wife, who said to him:
"Come on in and get to bed, and I will bring you your supper."
He said to his wife, "Give me a real supper." And he sat
down and had a great supper and then went to bed. After his
tale, Dr. Maltby pointed out where its moral lay, but you
have discerned that.
When we endeavor to carry the future responsibilities
of even a week, we lose our self-confidence and emotional
balance. The mind grows timid, the nerves become frayed,
and we become weakened and defeated as we take on the
heavy load. The successive resources will meet the suc-
cessive burdens, but the resources are supplied only for
the present needs. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
We are not only to forget those things that are behind;
w r e are not to anticipate those things which are in front of
us. The grace of God is sufficient for our present troubles;
THE WORRY OF LIFE 53
but he does not supply us for all the troubles, real and
imaginary, of the future.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
The present consists only of the present moment. To
make the best and most of the present moment is the
best preparation for the future. You come to where the
road forks. Do not try to force a decision hastily. A state
of suspense is not pleasant, but you can wait patiently.
Some impulse, the working of the subconscious mind,
some circumstance, the counsel of friends, or divine
guidance will direct you at the moment when you have to
decide. But it may not be a matter of two roads, but what
appears to be a dead-end stop. You cannot see two steps
ahead. You can see one step ahead; take that one.
Dr. J. H. Jowett consulted Dr. C. E. Berry as to an im-
portant decision. Dr. Berry asked, "When must you de-
The reply was, "I have to decide by Friday."
Then Dr. Berry said, "Wait until Friday, and you will
know what to do."
Carlyle wrote: " 'Do the Duty which lies nearest thee,'
which thou knowest to be a Duty! Thy second Duty will
already have become clearer."
When we visualize all the work we must do as it
stretches through the days, we become restless and fatigued.
We are required to do only the work of the present mo-
ment. We are sometimes up against a number of perplex
ing problems, all pressing for solution. But we do not have
to forecast and decide ahead of time; we are to retain our
poise of spirit, and we will have clearness of insight when
the moment for decision arrives.
It looks as if it is only a blind alley ahead of us, but many
blind alleys have opened up into thoroughfares as we
54 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
reached them. In any event it is better to trust than to
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene— one step enough for me.
You will spare yourself much discomfort by taking the
next step as the necessity arises. When confronted by
some choice between alternative courses which you will
have to make next month, you are not called upon to
make the decision today or tomorrow. Let the issue rest
and the way will doubtless clear when the time arrives to
Jesus insistently warned us against worry over the fu-
ture. He said: "Be not therefore anxious for the morrow:
for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto
the day is the evil thereof." The way to peace of mind is to
do the best we can each day, and let God look after the
things beyond our control. We are enjoined, "Cast thy
burden upon the Lord," or, as the original indicates, roll
the burden over on him.
An aged Negro was given a ride in an automobile. He
said, as he was getting out, "I didn't let all my weight
down the whole trip." A man was taken for a ride in a
wagon. The driver observed that the man was holding up
his heavy luggage and asked why he did not put it down
in the wagon. The reply was, "It was kind enough of you
to carry me without having to carry my luggage." These
stories are very illustrative of the way in which we fail to
allow the Lord to relieve us of our burden. We are prone
to load ourselves, not only with our yesterdays, but with
all of our tomorrows. The entire lump of life is too heavy
a burden for frail human shoulders.
THE WORRY OF LIFE 55
God broke our years to hours and days that
Hour by hour
And day by day
We might be able all along
To keep quite strong.
Should all the weight of life
Be laid across our shoulders, and the future, rife
With war and struggle, meet us face to face
At just our place,
We could not go;
Our feet would stop; and so
God lays a little on us every day.
And never, I believe, on all the way,
Will burdens bear so deep
Or pathways lie so steep
But we can go, if by God's power,
We only bear the burden by the hour.
THE WORK OF LIFE
Not only our worry but our work may prove to be
destructive of happiness. If we are not properly adjusted
to our work, the result is continuous unhappiness.
What will deliver us from this is the setting before us in
our work— as, indeed, in our life— the motive of service.
To set up this motive implies that our work is of such
character that it is possible in it to benefit others and the
community generally. The lack of a high and stimulating
motive results in the unhappiness of the worker.
No hard and fast distinction can be drawn between
sacred and secular work. Some scientists in the laboratory
are more religious than some preachers in the pulpit.
George W. Carver, the noted Negro scientist, made a
remarkable contribution to human welfare in his work. In
his application of scientific agriculture he increased the
yield per acre of the sweet potato 500 per cent and pro-
duced from it some two hundred products including flour,
dyes, ink, mucilage, and many other items. He derived
sixty products from the pecan.
From the peanut he extracted more than three hundred
products inclusive of milk, butter, cheese, oils, face lo-
tions, soaps, rubber, linoleum, dyes, wood stains, and
various other items. His discovery of the wealth of the
peanut was his masterpiece, and the work in which he
doubtless found most delight. He published a booklet
showing one hundred and five ways of preparing the peanut
for table use. He took the peanut to his laboratory and
THE WORK OF LIFE 57
reverently asked, "God, what is a peanut, and why did you
make it?" He explained all his researches thus: "When I get
an inspiration, I go into the laboratory and God tells me
what to do."
A valuable contribution of Carver had to do with cotton.
Sand was a great curse to the Alabama cotton farmer. The
short-stalk cotton produced the fattest bolls, and the tall-
stalk produced the leanest. Yet the short-stalk cotton left
the bolls exposed to splashes of sand when it rained. By a
crossing process, Professor Carver got the fat cotton bolls
of the short-stalk cotton to grow on the tall stalks that
lifted them out of the sand. Officially in Washington, the
cross was recognized by the name of "Carver's Hybrid."
From common clay Carver made a variety of wood stains,
toilet powder of varying shades, and pigments for making
dyes and paints.
Carver found happiness in his work because he believed
he was working in partnership with God. When asked by a
reporter how he came to make his discoveries, Carver
reverently dropped his head and said, "God Almighty
gave them to me." This humble scientist, bought as a
slave in his childhood for a race horse valued at $300, is a
striking illustration of the possibility of finding happiness
in our work.
We can be truly happy only as we learn to be happy in
our work and turn what might seem to be drudgery into
delight. Since work is supposed to occupy the larger por-
tion of one's waking hours, if we are miserable in our
work, then we are miserable most of the time. When
someone asked Edison why he worked so hard, he replied:
"I have not worked a day in my life; I've just had a good
Dr. Albert A. Michelson, the scientist, worked steadily in
a study of the measurement of the speed of light. When
58 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
asked as to his persistence, he replied, "If you really want
to know, it is because the job is so much fun."
One of the saddest mortals is the drudge. You find him
everywhere, plodding on silently and persistently, but
finding no pleasure in work and no joy in life. To fall in
love with our work is the first rule for doing our work
well and is also the condition of happiness.
The most important thing for a human being to learn is
how to live his life with a maximum of contentment and
a minimum of friction. In the commonplace one is to find
permanent satisfaction, and to regard the extraordinary
and occasional sources of pleasure as matters by the way.
The majority of mortals never learn this. Consequently
most people are more or less peevish and discontented.
The sum of wisdom and of intelligent experience consists
in an appreciation of the ordinary events and in a proper
discounting of the occasional.
John Wesley, on being asked what he would do if he
knew that he would die tomorrow night, answered, "I'd
keep on doing what I've planned for tomorrow." This is
the kind of faith that makes the present strong!
In our everyday work we are to find gladness and satis-
faction. The happiest wife and mother is the one who
changes drudgery into delight. The happiest businessman
is the one to whom business is fun. The happiest laborer
is the one who finds some hidden attraction in his toil.
Theodore Roosevelt, who was always cartooned with promi-
nent teeth, when asked how he did so much work, replied,
"I like my job."
WORK ESSENTIAL TO HAPPINESS
We must learn the lesson of finding happiness in our
work. We must not vainly imagine that we shall find it
at the end of some achievement or in some period of re-
laxation. Happiness is a spirit that pervades all life as
THE WORK OF LIFE 59
oxygen permeates the atmosphere, as salt permeates the
Dr. P. Carnegie Simpson names the two essentials of
happiness: one is something to do, and the other is someone
to love. If we look at people within our own acquaintance
whose lives are an illumination of what life really is, we
find that they are people who are not idle but are doing
something, and who are not selfish but loving.
We need to treasure the words of Carlyle:
Thou too, if ever a man should, shalt work while it is called
To-day. For the Night cometh, wherein no man can work.
All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true
hand-labor, there is something of divineness. Labor, wide as
the Earth, has its summit in Heaven. Sweat of the brow; and
... of the heart; ... up to that "Agony of bloody sweat,"
which all men have called divinel O brother, if this is not
"worship," then I say, the more pity for worship; for this is
the noblest thing yet discovered under God's sky. Who art
thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain not. Look
up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow Workmen there, in
God's eternity; surviving there, they alone surviving: sacred
Band of the Immortals, celestial Bodyguard of the Empire of
Further emphasis is given to the glory of work in the
stanza of Henry van Dyke:
This is the gospel of labour, ring it, ye bells of the kirk!
The Lord of Love came down from above, to live with the
men who work.
We face the difficulty of idealizing work. When a man
becomes a mere cog in the industrial machinery, life tends
to become dull and colorless. How can the laborer see his
work with a halo on it? There is a resentment that pro-
duces discontent when the individual feels that he is not
60 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
getting a fair share of the profits of industry. If the indi-
vidual is to attain any measure of happiness, he must see
beyond the drudgery and the mere bread-and-butter
motive a service that ministers to human welfare.
The admission must be made that it is difficult for the
soul to grow in various kinds of work. More than a million
miners are digging coal. More than four million farm
hands are engaged in the drudgery of farm work. Four
million clerks are selling a variety of items to customers,
many of whom are disagreeable. Five million, the majority
of whom are women, are occupied in the menial tasks of
cleaning up homes and hotels. Fourteen million are toil-
ing in steel mills and automobile factories. Four million
workers are on railroad and bus lines. How can all this
monotonous work minister to growth of character? How
can these jobs minister to the art of living?
Though work is a condition of happiness, yet we enu-
merate it as one of the foes of happiness because so many
people are unhappy in their work. When a man despises his
job, life is made miserable. Our lifework is varied, hand-
work and head-work, but the spirit in which we work de-
termines its character.
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.
But how shall the dignity of labor be maintained when
workmen are regimented, and each man's individual enter-
prise is swallowed up in a totality? A possible contentment
can come when one feels that his vocation, however special-
ized and mechanical, ministers to the welfare of humanity.
Unhappiness is the inevitable result of any kind of work
when one's supreme aim is the accumulation of material
things rather than making a helpful contribution to the
community. When we recognize that we are workers to-
gether with God, then our job, though obscure and re-
THE WORK OF LIFE 61
stricted, is lifted up and exalted. It is then that the words
of Jesus bring inspiration to our toil, "I must work the
works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night
cometh, when no man can work."
"We are labourers together with God."
Man is dependent on God. It is also true that God is
dependent on man.
The three necessary factors are the individual, the
social group, and God. Life is not a solitaire game, but
team play. It has been compared to rowing a boat. If you
row your own boat in a race, it does not matter much to
anybody else what you do. You can pull hard or you can
loaf along; you take all the consequences. But in an eight-
oared boat it is different. There you must pull your own
weight in the boat, or the others will have to pull you. If
you weaken, it means a harder job for those who pull the
boat across the line. And life is not like a lake where
everybody is pulling his own canoe. God did not arrange
it that way.
The co-operation of God and man has been finely ex-
pressed by George Eliot:
When any master holds
'Twixt chin and hand a violin of mine,
He will be glad that Stradivari lived,
Made violins, and made them of the best.
The masters only know whose work is good;
They will choose mine, and while God gives them skill,
I give them instruments to play upon—
God choosing me to help Him. . . .
My work is mine,
And heresy or not, if my hand slacked
I should rob God, since He is fullest good,
Leaving a blank, instead of violins. . . .
62 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
"Pis God gives skill,
But not without men's hands; He could not make
Antonio Stradivari's violins
THE OVERWORK OF LIFE
In our modern days men move at a neck-breaking and
heart-breaking pace. One of the most popular of American
diseases is neurasthenia, a name euphonious enough to
give to a beautiful flower or a charming girl. Overtension
causes breakage and wreckage which could be avoided.
One may claim that he is working strenuously in a good
cause. But if the laws of nature and of God are violated,
the penalty must be paid. Even if you should overwork
yourself trying to get people to heaven, you may break
under the strain and fall into the delusion that you are
going to hell. The black imps will torment the saint who
violates the laws of health as readily as the sinner.
Some good people frequently say, "I had rather work
myself to death than to rust out." It so happens, however,
that we do not have to do either. Men say with an air of
extra piety, "The devil never takes a vacation." I do not
desire to imitate the satanic majesty.
Men and women, however important their work, should
enjoy necessary relaxation and reasonable leisure. In this
way, they will be prepared for continuous service. You.
should be able to ride a hobby, some diversion that
differs widely from your regular work. The cultivation of a
hobby brings needed rest and adds zest to life. We should
avoid the hurry and flurry and break-neck speed. Physi-
cians speak of "Americanitis" as indicating nervous ex-
haustion. Amusements minister to happiness. If the bow
is to keep its spring, it must be relaxed. Milton speaks of
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
THE WORK OF LIFE 63
Dr. Charles W. Eliot wrote, "There is a life-long satisfac-
tion in productive labor, manual or mental, that is not
pushed beyond the limits of strength."
At the risk of making assertions that appear to be con-
tradictory, a word may be said in praise of idleness. All
work and no play makes Jack about as dull as all play and
no work. If idleness is the devil's opportunity, then over-
work is the doctor's opportunity. Many businessmen drive
themselves at such a rapid pace that a heart attack takes
them away when they are barely past middle age.
Women live longer than men, despite the extra strain
upon them of bearing children. Their greater longevity
may well be a reflection of the lower tension for work per-
formed at home instead of in an office where excitement
and deadlines produce fear and higher blood pressure.
Now that women are invading the factories as well as
offices, they are beginning to feel the tensions of man's
economic sphere and may not surpass man's longevity as
much as in former generations.
Taking the figures from 1876 to 1941, we find a gradual
rise in the average age of both women and men even
though the pressure of modern life is intensified. In 1876
the average age of women was 44.6 years, and of men 41.4
years. The average age increased until in 1941 the average
age of women was 68.1 years, and of men 63.4 years.
With the cultivation of leisure and relaxation, together
with the increase of medical knowledge and skill, a length-
ened earthly existence will follow. The sensible procedure
is work, but not overwork.
THE UNDERWORK OF LIFE
Employment in some useful task or occupation is neces-
sary to happiness. Idlers, dudes, and social butterflies find
little satisfaction in life and frequently talk of doing
something to kill time. The most miserable people on
64 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
earth are those who have nothing to do but enjoy life. It
is worklessness that explains the sighs of weariness that
arise from palaces. It is worklessness that explains the
bitterness of the tramp. There is the unhappiness of both
the idle rich and the idle poor.
At a popular resort I met a woman and her older and
wealthy husband. She remarked, "I keep my husband busy
trying to find some new pleasure and recreation for me."
One thing is certain, we can never be content in idleness.
A young married woman was complaining constantly,
always running to doctors, and seeking cures. She adopted
two children and forgot her petty ills in caring for them.
Now she is healthy and happy.
The dawdlers and triflers and idlers do not find happi-
ness. The rugged Carlyle said, "In God's name work, pro-
duce something, and then you will consume your own
smoke." The idle person is exposed to all manner of
worries and fears. Since he is not occupied in useful work,
imagination runs riot. Idleness destroys the possibility of
happiness. However, life is essentially active, and the idle
person is prone to seek activity in ways that are harmful
to him and injurious to society. Overwork may break down
the nerves, but underwork breaks down the morals.
And yet despite the apparent contradiction there re-
mains the necessity for idleness and leisure and relaxation.
THE GLORY OF WORK
To have useful work to do and take joy in it lifts the
soul and lightens the load and makes us colaborers with
The pagan idea still lingers that God has nothing to
do. The degraded idea of labor sprang out of slavery. Paul
speaks of "the working of [God's] mighty power." The
little girl looked up into the sky and asked, "Papa, what
does God do all day long?" Jesus has answered the ques-
THE WORK OF LIFE 65
tion, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." God is
not inactive or passive. His is the energy that permeates
our world. He is constantly transforming evil into good,
and making the wrath of man to praise him. He brings the
impact of his Spirit on our sluggish spirits and raises us to
higher levels of life.
Jesus found happiness in his work. He said to his disci-
ples, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and
to finish his work."
A poem which appeared in the Christian Herald in
October, 1941, expresses in quaint style a philosophy of
work which will prevent us from becoming "weary in
Oh, you gotta get a glory
In the work you do;
A hallelujah chorus
In the heart of you.
Paint, or tell a story,
Sing, or shovel coal,
But you gotta get a glory,
Or the job lacks soul.
Oh, Lord, give me a glory.
Is it much to give?
For you gotta get a glory
Or you just don't live!
The Great, whose shining labors
Make our pulses throb,
Were men who got a glory
In their daily job.
The battle might be gory
And the odds unfair,
But the men who got a glory
Never knew despair.
66 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Oh, Lord, give me a glory.
When all else is gone,
If you've only got a glory
You can still go onl
To those who get a glory
It is like the sun,
And you can see it glowing
Through the work they've done.
Oh, fame is transitory,
Riches fade away,
But when you get a glory
It is there to stay.
Oh, Lord, give me a glory
And a workman's pride,
For you gotta get a glory
Or you're dead inside! 1
1 Berton Braley. Copyright by Curtis Publishing Co.
THE PERPLEXED MIND
There rests upon the mind the heavy weight of life's
insoluble mysteries. We recognize the difference between
seeing a fact and seeing into a fact, and we allow our-
selves to be disturbed because we cannot see into the fact.
We are beset by mysteries.
It is a world of mystery,
From every greenest blade that cuts the sod,
To the great star-domed temple of our God,
Pulsing with restless unknown power.
We need to content ourselves with knowing in part
and await the coming day when we shall know even as we
are known. The mysteries which confront us and the
doubts which arise result in restless and disturbed minds.
Jesus did not say, "I have explained the world," but "I
have overcome the world."
The modern world is confronted by the mystery of
magnitudes. We face the threefold infinitude of space,
time, and power. It was quite a wrench to the mind of
man to learn that, instead of the earth's being the stationary
center of the universe, it was moving through space at the
rate of twenty miles per second.
The extent of the universe is estimated at six billion
light years. A light year is the number of miles light
68 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
travels in a year, which is six trillion miles. These figures
multiplied give some indication of the vastness of the uni-
verse. Sir James H. Jeans, the astronomer, compared the
number of stars to the number of grains of sand on all
the seashores of the world. The sun is a million times
larger than our earth. But we are not to be worshipers of
What if Betelgeuse is large enough for our earth to
swing its orbit inside it? It is nothing but a gas bag. What
if Antares makes our sun seem a mere candle flame? It is
inferior to the human personality. When the pert skeptic
says, "Astronomically speaking, man is negligible," the
apt reply is, "Astronomically speaking, man is the astrono-
mer." It is the mind of man that tracks the stars in their
orbits and weighs and analyzes their substance.
The cheap physical and material estimate of man is that
the elements which constitute an average-sized body can be
purchased at the drugstore for ninety-eight cents. If a man
with this estimate of his value should be killed in a rail-
road accident, the family should collect only his estimated
value. If he should be about half killed, a claim should be
made for only forty-nine cents. If an arm should be
broken, a nickel would be ample remuneration. The
supreme values of life are infinitely beyond the physical
and the material. If the lifeless body of Jesus could have
been dissected and analyzed to the minutest cell, no trace
could have been found of the love that through the cen-
turies has called forth the responsive love of countless
millions, and that is lifting the world to higher heights.
We find the same stamp of divine perfection on the
atom as on the colossal heavenly bodies. The mystery of
matter is insoluble, but it has been defined as tiny particles
of nothing moving very rapidly. The apparently solid rock
THE PERPLEXED MIND 69
is no more substantial than moonshine. I am not referring
to the familiar mountain product.
Matter is said to consist of electrons and protons. The
electrons in the sky are so strongly attracted to the protons
below that they stream madly toward the earth. The sud-
den leap from air to ground is a flash of lightning. What-
ever an electron is, it is flying around in its own little
solar system at tremendous speed of about ten thousand
miles per second, and is doing all this traveling within
spherical limits of about a hundred-millionth of an inch
in diameter. The scientist tells us that a proton weighs
about one septillionth of an ounce. An electron is lighter,
about one two-thousandth of a proton.
A lecturer in a rural town remarked, "Of course, you
know what a corpuscle is like." The chairman replied,
"Most of us do, but you had better explain for the benefit
of those that have never been inside one." The scientist
is more gifted in description than in explanation. We have
the oft-repeated incident of the small boy who was asked
to define a vacuum. He replied, "I have it in my head, but
I can't explain it."
A. S. Eddington gives a description of a scientist enter-
ing a room:
I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is
a complicated business. In the first place I must shove against
an atmosphere pressing with a force of fourteen pounds on
every square inch of my body, a weight of fifteen tons. I must
make sure of landing on a plank travelling at twenty miles a
second round the sun— a fraction of a second too early or too
late, the plank would be miles away. I must do this whilst
hanging from a round planet, head outward into space, and
with a wind of ether blowing at no one knows how many miles
a second through every interstice of my body. The plank has
no solidity of substance. To step on it is like stepping on a
swarm of flies. Shall I not slip through? No, if I make the
70 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
venture one of the flies hits me and gives a boost up again; I
fall again and am knocked upwards by another fly; and so on.
I may hope that the net result will be that I remain about
steady: but if unfortunately I should slip through the floor or
be boosted too violently up to the ceiling, the occurrence would
be, not a violation of the laws of Nature, but a rare coincidence.
These are some of the minor difficulties. . . .
Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door. And
whether the door be barn door or church door, it might be
wiser that he should consent to be an ordinary man and walk
in rather than wait until all the difficulties involved in a really
scientific ingress are resolved. 1
The scientist informs us that, if all the protons and
electrons of man's body were collected into one mass and
all the unfilled space within them were eliminated, man
would be reduced to a speck just visible with a magnifying
In the ultimate analysis matter resolves itself into elec-
tric forces. The food we eat is in reality electricity. Con-
sidering the diet we live on, we should not be slow-
motioned but as quick as lightning.
With all the apparatus in the world at his disposal,
finite man can never give an adequate statement of life, of
light, of electricity, of the energy that propels all living
organisms, of those unseen forces that make the movement
and life of the universe. All that science can ever do is to
find out how these forces work. As to the nature and es-
sence of these propelling forces, science must always be
content with a general statement.
The scientist relies largely on inference. Inference is a
mental process quite distinct from perception and intui-
tion. The latter are direct modes of apprehension, the
1 The Nature of the Physical World, The Macmillan Co., 1940. Used by
THE PERPLEXED MIND 71
former indirect. We infer the existence of atoms, of elec-
trons and protons, of ether, and of numerous other objects
of which we have no direct knowledge.
THE THREE MAJOR MYSTERIES
My purpose is to mention them, without any effort to
make any argument in favor of any particular theory.
First, what is the nature of the universe? Professed
theists differ as to the eternity of the material universe.
The distinction, however, between theism and atheism
has to do with the presence or absence of a pervading
Purpose in the world. To the atheist, the world is the
mere sport of the blind forces of chance.
The world rolls round forever like a mill;
It grinds out death and life and good and ill;
It has no purpose, heart or mind or will.
The theist explains an orderly universe as the ex-
pression of Mind and Purpose, which is on the side of the
good. The ultimate victory over evil is assured.
I know that Truth and Right
Have the universe on their side.
Modern scientific knowledge has immeasurably ex-
tended the universe both in space and time. The age of
the earth is now stated in terms of multiplied millions of
years. According to the traditional conception man ap-
peared on the earth immediately after its creation. In the
seventeenth century Dr. John Lightfoot declared, "Man
was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C. at
nine o'clock in the morning."
Second, how shall we think of God? We face the deep
mystery of God. There has been a long succession of
those who have denied the existence of God. A wide dif-
72 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
ference exists in the conception of God from the vague
impersonal idea of pantheism to the Christian faith in a
personal God who is our Father.
We may trust his love, but we cannot understand his
infinity. "Canst thou by searching find out God?" We
cannot understand the marvel of his creative activity:
"How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past
finding out." An intelligent Christian faith is possible
in our day only by a willing acceptance of the scientific
fact of the immensity of our universe. An enlarged con-
ception of the material universe demands an enlarged
conception of God. The mistake of some good people is
that they endeavor to place a medieval God in the midst
of a modern world.
The main difficulty that besets the faith in the fatherly
love of God is the mystery of human suffering. We have
witnessed the indescribable horror of war, the agonizing
mutilation and death of millions of men, and the dark
tragedy which came to vast numbers of women and chil-
dren. In our moments of despondency, the heart asks:
Where is God? Is he interested in man? A friend suggested
to Carlyle, who was in a mood of gloom, that God was
still to be reckoned with. Carlyle replied: "Yes, but he
Some considerations which throw light on the dark
problems of life may be emphasized. It is impossible to
have a good without a possible evil. It is impossible to have
a Christ without a possible crucifixion. We cannot have
freedom to choose the good without the possibility of
choosing the evil. It is impossible to have the reign of
natural and moral law without the possibility of the law's
being violated. It is impossible to have the solidarity of
human society with its possibility of happiness without
the possibility of suffering.
Some approach to the solution of our difficulty comes
THE PERPLEXED MIND 73
from a recognition of a necessary limitation of God. As
indicated, three factors are inherent in our world order:
the free will of man, the reign of law, and social solidarity.
If man were not endowed with this freedom of will, he
would not be a man but a robot. With this freedom, he is
free to choose evil which results in suffering. If God had
not established natural and moral law, it would be a
topsy-turvy world in which progress and development
would not be possible. But in a world of law, pain and
suffering follow a violation of law. If there were
not social solidarity, men would exist as unrelated in-
dividuals—an idea which is not really conceivable. The
only possible conception of life is interrelatedness. This
involves the fact that a person may bring either help or
hurt to other members of the family or society. Apart from
these three factors, we would not have a world order in
which character and happiness are possible. But with
these factors, there is the inevitable possibility of evil and
suffering. You cannot have it just one way. There is the
No solution of the mystery of suffering entirely satisfies.
But the critics of things as they are have never been able
to draw a constructive outline of a different and better
world order. These critics express regret that they were
not called into consultation, since they could have offered
valuable suggestions touching the methods of God in the
world. But in a world where there would be no possibility
of man's sin enhancing the misery of the world, there would
likewise be no possibility of man's goodness enhancing
the happiness of the world. This idea is emphasized as
affording at least a partial solution of the tragedies of time.
We shall have no perfect solution until we pass beyond the
veil, and the light of the eternal world shall remove all
doubt and darkness.
With full recognition of the limitation of the human
74 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
mind in comprehending the mind of God, yet we may
venture to assert that some limitation belongs to God him-
self. In the first place must we not limit the absolute
omnipotence of God in order to retain faith in his good-
ness? Must we not choose between foreordination and a;
future with some possibilities open? It appears to be evi-;
dent that God places a limitation on his power in con-
ferring on man moral freedom. In creating self-determining
will God limits his own power. The omnipotence of God
does not mean that he can do the impossible. According
to Borden P. Bowne it means that he is able to "do the do-
able." A twofold task of theology is to reconcile the power
of God with his goodness, and to reconcile the power of
God with the moral freedom of man.
We come next to the question of the omniscience of
God and his absolute foreknowledge. We have more readily
accepted a limitation of the power of God than a limitation
of his knowledge. Since the power of God is limited by
the free will of man, the foreknowledge of God is likewise
limited by man's free will. If God cannot do that which
is not do-able, neither can he know that which is not know-
Is not some future choice of a free individual unknow-
able? If a free moral act of man can be known of God in ad-
vance of its happening, it is in principle predetermined.
The objection may be urged that foreknowledge is not
causative, but this does not free us from fatalism. The
person says: "I am destined to do nothing contrary to the
divine foreknowledge. Why should I burden myself with
a sense of responsibility?" We must either deny human
freedom or modify our views of divine foreknowledge.
William James in a well-known illustration presents
God and man as engaged in a game of chess. God does not
know each separate move of his weaker opponent, but he
does know the final outcome of the game. God does not
THE PERPLEXED MIND 75
know the varied moral acts of a world of free individuals,
but he does know the ultimate course and culmination of
human affairs. To be guided by our own consciousness and
to accept freedom as a fact afford a line of certainty which
is followed by inescapable inferences. Those necessary post-
ulates are the limitations both of divine omnipotence and
divine omniscience. This is not a loss but a gain. Faith in
the goodness of God and in the moral freedom of man
are made secure.
The third mystery is in the psalmist's question, "What is
man, that thou art mindful of him?" One answer is, "Thou
hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast
crowned him with glory and honour." The skeptical an-
swer of Ecclesiastes is, "Man hath no preeminence above a
beast. . . . All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and
all turn to dust again."
Two distinct views exist as to man's origin and begin-
ning. The traditional view is that Adam, the father of the
race, was created full-grown by the hand of God. The
scientific idea is the evolutionary process by which man
developed out of a lower order of life.
Again the mystery of man's mind is beyond our under-
standing. Some philosophers hold that we have no innate
ideas, that at birth the soul is an empty tablet which re-
ceives impressions from the outside, and that all ideas come
to the individual through some experience. On the other
hand, there are advocates of the theory that ideas are innate
in the mind and require only the stimulation of sensations
to bring them to consciousness.
A further agelong controversy concerning man is that
of freedom or determinism. The theory very early had
vogue that the Fates wove a web of destiny around man
from which he could not escape. Even man's will was
determined. All the actions of man were the results of fac-
tors over which he had no control. The opposing opinion is
76 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
that man is able to choose, or else there would be no possi-
bility of either good or evil. Life becomes meaningful only
when we accept the verdict of our consciousness as to our
freedom of choice.
We have the opposing theories as to the continuance of
the human personality after death. The materialistic posi-
tion is that the personality does not survive the disintegra-
tion of the body. The fact of life itself— its origin— is an
insoluble mystery, and to live forever is not any greater
mystery than that of beginning to live. One little cell unites
with another little cell to form one cell. In this one cell
are stored up some of the physical and mental characteris-
tics of parents and grandparents and great grandparents
back through the generations.
A sophomore is reported to have submitted a manuscript
to a Harvard professor in which he said: "I am going to
write a history of life; I have just finished my first treatment
of that subject, in which I have explained the universe."
The supposition is that an increase of knowledge removed
THE EXERCISE OF SPIRITUAL FAITH
Men have always wondered, and worshiped, and prayed,
and lived upon the spiritual forces in our world, inde-
pendently of any adequate explanation.
Someone has given to us a parable of two chicks. The two
chicks were housed in eggs which lay side by side under
the warm sheltering feathers of the mother hen. They had
reached the stage of growth when there came to both of
them a strong impulse to break through the shell. A conver-
sation took place through the thin shells which separated
them. One was an agnostic chick, and the other a Christian
philosopher. The agnostic chick said: "I feel an almost
irresistible impulse to break my shell today. I have an
inward assurance of light, air, food, a larger world, and
THE PERPLEXED MIND 77
a freer realm of life. But since I have never seen and do not
know of this other world, it would be a very foolish thing
to tear down the only house I know anything about. I
will take counsel of prudence and not break through the
The chick that was a Christian philosopher said: "I do
■ not know anything of any world outside this shell. But
; there burns within me an instinct which tells me that
j I should make the venture; that there is a life beyond; and
that, anyway, to remain here at last means death. I do not
see how feet, wings, eyes, and bill are to come into play,
but I feel that assurance of a larger life with boundless
horizons; so here goes for the venture."
A beautiful little chick was soon basking in the sunlight.
The busy housewife came out to look after the chickens
and found in the deserted nest a single egg. She cracked
it, and there lay before her the stiff dead body of the ag-
In the realm of the spiritual we make the venture.
Nothing before, nothing behind;
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void and find
The rock beneath.
We must make the venture. Faith makes the venture in the
absence of absolute certainty, or it would not be faith. This
venture of faith is expressed by Browning in:
Two points in the adventure of the diver,
One— when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge;
One— when, a prince, he rises with his pearl?
The experiment of faith results in the joy of a spiritual
98 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
O World, thou choosest not trie better partr
It is not wisdom to be only wise,
And on the inward vision close the eyes,
But it is wisdom to believe the heart. 1
The denial of the spiritual is to transform life into a
hopeless riddle. It is to hold that the worst in our world
rests on reality and is in conformity with eternal truth,
while the best in our world rests on the rotten founda-
tion of a falsehood. The only escape from such contradic-
tions is an unshaken confidence in the reliability of our
spiritual consciousness. An element of mystery remains in
the mind; but if the heart, the love, the longing, and the
highest intuitions and aspirations find their object— their
resting place in the one sought— the life is at rest.
I have a life in Christ to live
But ere I live it must I wait
Till learning can clear answer give
To this and that book's date.
I have a life in Christ to live
I have a death in Christ to die,
And must I wait till science give
All doubts a full reply?
Other things may wait until that glad day when the mists
of earth have lifted, and we see the light within the cloud,
and we shall know even as we are known. But even now
we may know him, and rest our tired minds and aching
hearts upon his love.
1 George Santayana, "Sonnets, 1883-1893— III," Poems, Charles Scribners'
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE
Charles Kingsley once wrote the following recipe for
being miserable: "Think much about yourself; about
what you like; what you want; what respect people ought
to pay you; and what people think of you." The unhappiest
\ people in the world are the self-centered people. The best
in us is killed by too much attention to ourselves. General
Booth, of Salvation Army fame, said, "Damnation comes
from mirrors; salvation from windows." Jesus told his
followers to find themselves by forgetting themselves. If a
man can give himself to a cause outside himself, bigger
than himself, and do it without thought of the conse-
quences, he will find a sure cure for self-centeredness.
Through a cultivation of this spirit we can attain the
supreme satisfaction of life. Happiness and selfishness
cannot grow on the same stem. Our happiness is found in
helpful service to others. Henry Drummond said: "Half
the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness.
They think it consists in having and getting and in being
served by others; it consists in giving and in serving
George W. Chiids, the wealthy Philadelphia editor, a
man of extensive charity, declared that doing good was the
greatest pleasure of his life. Mr. Scruggs, a wealthy Meth-
odist of St. Louis, with the gladness of his soul shining
through his face, pointed out his church to a friend and
said, "Thank God, I put more money into that building
than into my own residence." D. K. Pearson, the bene-
80 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
factor of small colleges, who gave millions to struggling
and worthy institutions of learning, declared that giving
was the greatest fun of his life. He wished that other men of
wealth might learn the lesson of joy in giving.
Instead of making any direct search for happiness, if in
the unselfish spirit of Christ you endeavor to make other
people happy, your own unhappiness will be forgotten.
This incident is only an exceptional instance of the
egocentricity of a missionary. A church sent out a mission-
ary to China. The contributors to the missionary's support
thought it would be a good idea to supply him with a
printing press and a font of type so that he might use it
in his work and also print a paper which would bring back
home news of the progress of his mission. When the first
issue was printed, it stopped abruptly in the middle with
the announcement: "I regret that it is impossible to finish
this issue, but we have run out of capital Z's." There are
too many capital J's in the thoughts and aspirations of most
We readily pardon a child for its emphasis on the per-
sonal pronoun of the first person. A father heard his little
daughter singing on her birthday.
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday, dear Susan,
Happy birthday to me!
A disposition that is pardonable in a child is repulsive
in a grown-up. "When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when
I became a man, I put away childish things." It is ex-
pected of a mature person that he shall pass the stage of
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 81
The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray frees
the soul from all petty selfishness. The first part is cen-
tered on God. It is not that our name may be honored,
that we have rulership, and that our will may be done.
The prayer is that God's name may be revered, that the rule
of his kingdom may come, and that his will may be done
on earth as in heaven.
The petitions of the second part of the prayer lift us
out of self. The pronouns are "our," "us," never "mine"
and "me"; not my daily bread, my forgiveness, and my
deliverance from evil. The petitions do not center in self.
The others are included; and the prayer is for our daily
bread, the forgiveness of our trespasses, and our victory
over the evil one.
The words of Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians
according to the Moffatt translation are: "Never acting for
private ends . . . , but . . . each with an eye to the interests
of others as well as to his own." The egocentric person
keeps self always in the center.
Somewhere I picked up the lines:
Of all my mother's children,
I love myself the best,
When I have been provided for
Then I will think of the rest.
An expanding personality is possible only to the unselfish
spirit. The person whose thoughts are mainly centered on
himself is occupied with a small subject. A man is bound to
be unhappy if he lives in a world whose center is self.
Herr Hitler afforded a striking example of the bloated
ego. A reader reported that in one speech Hitler used the
personal pronoun of the first person eighty-seven times.
In conversation people do not want to hear you talk ex-
clusively about yourself. If you want the other person to
be interested, talk to him about himself. This rule works
82 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
well in courtship. It is a good way to secure a husband or
wife. The observation has been made that a gossip is one
who talks to you about other people, a bore is one who
talks to you about himself, and a brilliant conversation-
alist is one who talks to you about yourself. In a social
group you need not bother to talk about yourself— the
group will take care of that when you leave. For this reason,
I prefer not to leave a company before it has dispersed.
The egoists have an inordinate desire for personal recog-
nition and personal profit. Egocentricity is a common
infirmity. Its sole interest is one's self and one's own
The word picture of Sir Walter Scott is pertinent.
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
A DUE REGARD FOR ONE'S SELF
The unselfish spirit does not involve a disregard of one's
self. It is essential that we should cultivate our self-respect,
self-esteem, and highest self-interest. Jesus enjoined not
only a love for one's neighbors, but a love for one's self.
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." This self-love
is far removed from self-centeredness. As you truly love
yourself, you put self under the mastery of God. When
you are self-centered, you put self under the mastery of
Happiness can come only through human relationships.
Jesus told us that, if we are to know and appreciate the
values of life, they are to be found in loving other people.
Therefore, true happiness should be found through co-
operation with the immutable laws of God, which are
based on love.
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 83
SOME OUTGROWTHS OF SELF-CENTEREDNESS
First of all is an undue self-consciousness which dooms
one to misery.
The centipede was happy quite
Until a toad in fun
Said, "Pray, which leg goes after which?"
That worked her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.
There are those who live as in a mirror maze, seeing only
self whichever way they turn.
We reach our best in the absence of self-consciousness.
The self-conscious speaker is on the way to failure. The
vital organs most perfectly perform their function when
we do not bring them within the range of consciousness.
The heart does its best work when we are not conscious
that we have a heart. The heart beats 72 times a minute,
103,680 times a day, and 37,843,200 times a year. It gener-
ates enough power every twenty-four hours to lift a ton
82 feet in the air, generating enough power in a year to
lift 365 tons up to a height of 82 feet. When you reach the
age of fifty— presuming that you have not yet reached it—
your heart will have put forth sufficient power to lift 18,250
tons to a height of 82 feet. If we brood solicitously over
the herculean task, the heart will fail in its work. Do not
become discouraged; the heart does not have to do all
this at once. We must avoid overmuch attention to the de-
partment of the interior.
Self-pity follows in the wake of self-centeredness. The
self-pitiers imagine that they bear the maximum of grief
and that they have struck the rock bottom of suffering,
and regard themselves as the most unfortunate of all
individuals. They are so taken up with their own mis-
fortune that they have no thought for the troubles of others,
84 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
In making a bid for the pity of others, they succeed only
in making themselves disagreeable. The confirmed hypo-
chondriac produces the imaginary ailment which he de-
An old woman related to me a true incident which oc-
curred in her own neighborhood. A doctor was called to
see a woman who could not get out of bed. The doctor
took the husband out of the room and told him that he
must give his wife some sort of shock. When the husband
returned to the room, the wife with her usual wail said,
"I'm going to die."
The husband replied, "I am glad you mentioned it. I
have been thinking that I could marry Hattie, our maid,
who would be kind to the children."
With that the wife for the first time in weeks jumped out
of the bed and angrily replied, "No, you won't do any
such thing. Hattie is too fast anyway."
The once bedridden wife renewed her strength and
became an active member of the family.
A further offshoot of egocentricity is supersensitiveness.
The limerick describes the opposite emotion:
There was a young man so benighted,
He didn't know when he was slighted.
He went to a party
And ate just as hearty
As if he'd been really invited.
The supersensitive person is extremely sensitive over
all slights and offenses, both real and imaginary. In a
social gathering the sensitive individual detects a couple
smiling and looking in her direction. She becomes agitated
and says to her companion: "You see those people looking
this way. They are talking about me, and I know just as
well as if I heard them that it is not anything good. I never
did like them anyway, and I dislike them now more than
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 85
ever." If it so happens that I am in a social gathering and
see people smiling and looking toward me, I feel elated
and say to myself: "Well, I cannot hear what they are say-
ing; but I know as well as if I heard it that it is something
good, and I do appreciate it." I have seen public speakers
irritated over any conversation in an audience. I never
become offended. I do not hear the conversation, but I am
practically certain that one person said to the other that
he made a good point, and the reply was, "He surely did."
Of course I might be mistaken, but I prefer making that
kind of mistake.
Another accompaniment of self-centeredness is spiritual
pride. Jesus pictures the self-centered Pharisee at prayer—
his self-praise, his self-complacency, his self-satisfaction, his
self-righteousness, and his self-consciousness. For five times
in his self-congratulation the "I" rings out. The injunction
of Jesus "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand
doeth," may be freely construed, "Do not shake hands
The self-centeredness of the rich fool as described by
Jesus in the parable is not a matter of spiritual but rather
of material pride. "I have no room where to bestow my
fruits." He does not have God even on the far horizon of
his life. "I will say to my soul Soul, thou hast much goods
laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and
be merry." Eleven times he uses the personal pronoun of
the first person.
Self-centeredness leads to self-deception. Self-deception
begins when a man rationalizes his selfish desires and cul-
minates in self-justification. "Ye are they which justify
The modern church is no longer poor after the manner
of the apostolic church but has vast material interests and
resources. It was a searching and caustic comment of
George Bernard Shaw that the Church of England would
86 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
give up all thirty-nine articles of its creed before it would
renounce one thirty-ninth of its property. This would have
likewise the same application to other churches.
Macaulay said that the theory of gravitation would not
yet be accepted if it had interfered with vested interests.
According to Paul, "The god of this world hath blinded
the minds." With one voice all whose judgments are per-
verted by selfish interests exclaim, "Great is Diana of the
Rationalization from self-interest is very manifest in
some of the advocates of militarism. The matter of profit
leads the devotees of Mars to place a halo on his iron brow.
If war should result in financial loss rather than gain to the
munitions makers, they would become such pink pacifists
that by comparison Gandhi would look like a rampant
An entirely different result of self-centeredness is a hurt-
ful process of introspection. The admonition of Paul is,
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." But a
self-examination that is spiritually wholesome is altogether
different from the morbid type of introspection which is
constantly feeling the spiritual pulse. To examine ourselves
is to test ourselves and to see wherein we fall short of the
Word of God and the perfect example of Jesus. It results
in bringing the life into a larger measure of conformity
to the perfect life.
On the other hand, an introspective analysis of the emo-
tions with a constant questioning of the motives interferes
with spiritual growth, just as digging up a plant to look
at its roots stunts the growth and may even destroy the life
of the plant.
I think it was Horace Bushnell who pictured a man as
morbidly introspecting his love for his mother and ques-
tioning himself as to this love. At last he reached the con-
clusion, "I do not love my mother."
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 87
In the distinctively spiritual realm of faith in God and
love for God, a self-centered analysis produces the pitiable
tragedy of the loss of faith and love.
It is altogether possible to be too severe on ourselves.
Excessive introspection falls into morbidity in the analysis
of our motives. Some people are better than they think they
are. The incident is given of Lincoln that he rescued a
pig which was caught in a rail fence, He said afterward,
"If I had not done it, I could not have slept that night."
He finally concluded that he rescued the pig for the sake
of getting a good night's sleep. In reality, there was no
selfish motive. The act was prompted by his kind and gen-
erous nature. By constantly exploring our "mental in-
wards" we may come to question our most unselfish mo-
Charles Lamb said in effect that it was most gratifying
to do a good deed secretly and then have it found out on us.
We should not, however, impute to ourselves selfishness
because we relish the good opinion of other people. We
need the spiritual discipline of self-examination, but not
the morbid scrutiny that attributes a selfish motive to our
most generous deeds. It is the doctrine of Satan, as declared
in the case of Job, that there is no such principle as dis-
LOOKING TOWARD A REMEDY
First of all, we should exercise a self-criticism. Judge
Logan Bleckly, a noted Georgia jurist, was once asked the
secret of his success. He replied, "I do not consider myself
successful, but the explanation of whatever success I may
have achieved, I attribute to the practice of self-criticism."
A small boy had a friend in a neighbor, who said, "Now
I am going away for awhile; and, if you are a good boy,
I will give you a dollar."
88 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
On his return after two or three days he said to the
boy, "Well, how about the dollar?"
The honest boy shrugged his shoulders and said, "Just
gimme a nickel."
If people were thus honest with themselves, they would
be saved from many failures.
The psychologist William McDougall made the state-
ment that a healthy self-criticism is the best safeguard
against neurotic trouble. A healthy self-criticism is in-
dispensable to a happy life. Some of our deepest difficulties
arise because we are too easy on ourselves. We are forever
making excuses, not only to others, but to ourselves as well.
We know we have faults, but we are not willing to admit
them, even to our friends and families. But what is more
serious, we are unwilling to admit them to ourselves. We
push our faults from us, turn our backs upon them, and
do our utmost to forget them. We succeed only in pushing
these unacknowledged faults down deep inside of us, where
they frequently form the beginning of mental disturb-
ances which may play havoc with us in later years.
We should have stated times when we can get ourselves
off into a secluded corner somewhere so that we can talk
to ourselves about our faults, so that we can say to our-
selves: "Now I have you so you cannot get away from me,
and I am going to tell you just what I think about you.
You are vain; you are jealous; you are hotheaded; you are
self-centered; you are stingy; you are envious; and it is
high time you began to deal firmly with yourself."
If we were as expert in criticizing ourselves as we are in
passing criticism on others, we would make a long stride
forward. This habit of faultfinding usually springs out of
a feeling of inferiority caused by an unrecognized sense
of guilt that can be compensated for only by finding fault
with others. Thus we create the illusion of personal su-
periority. It is much easier to criticize than to construct.
Many newspaper columnists have nothing to write about
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 89
unless they find someone to besmirch. We can carry this
quality into every avenue of life. Church people criticize
the choir, the clergyman, and the sexton. Nonchurchgoers
point the finger of scorn at what they call the hypocrisy of
religious people. Thus they absolve themselves self-right-
The habit of criticizing others blocks our own progress,
but the criticism of one's self is the secret of self-develop-
ment and assurance of victory over egocentricity. Criticism
is a backslidden word. At first it was passing judgment us-
ually in the way of commendation. By degrees it has come
to signify faultfinding.
We should cultivate, in the second place, an interest
in other people. Paul exhorts, "Look not every man on
his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Jude describes the opposite type as "feeding themselves
We are to enjoy the joy of others. "Rejoice with them
that do rejoice." We are to enter into the sorrows of others,
"Weep with them that weep." We are to be glad when good
fortune comes to others— "in honour preferring one an-
All too often our ears are so alert to hear words of praise
bestowed on us that we forget to praise someone else. The
preacher is very prone to desire to receive praise rather
than to give it. You might test your memory by recalling
some of the kind things you said about your neighbor, or
some of the kind things you said to your neighbor, or some
of the kind deeds you did to your neighbor. A small boy
in Sunday school was asked by the teacher what lesson he
received from the story of the Good Samaritan. He replied,
"The lesson I got from it is that, when you are in trouble,
your neighbors ought to help you." This is the old note
of emphasis on self-interest.
Our emphasis should be on what we may do for others
90 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
rather than on what others may do for us. Here is involved
the whole matter of a clear guidance in life. If you think of
your self-interest, you become perplexed and confused as
to what course you should pursue. You know not which
way to turn. You walk in darkness. As you think of your
duty, the way becomes clear. "Thine ears shall hear a word
behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it."
The declaration of Jesus is: "The light of the body is
the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body
shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole
body shall be full of darkness." Success will be achieved in
the search for good cheer as we place the emphasis upon
our duties rather than upon our rights. People refuse often
to give us our rights, and we have no way of compelling
them. Our duties, however, are not restricted by outside
limitations. No combination of evil forces can prevent us
from doing our duty. An emphasis on duties or rights
marks the whole wide distance between a happy and a
miserable life. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if
ye do them."
The emphasis of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount
and the note that runs through all of his words and works
is that we are blessed as we minister to others rather than as
we receive a ministry from others. As we contend merely
for our rights from others, we become miserable. As we
give ourselves in performing our duty to others, we achieve
Think more of what you may do for others than of what
others may do for you. The note that runs through all the
teachings of Jesus is to think more of your duties than
of your rights. Some people dwell constantly on the service
others owe them. Others think of the service they owe other
people. This difference is as wide as the difference between
selfishness and unselfishness, as wide as the difference be-
tween misery and happiness. The people who lay the stress
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 91
on their rights are supersensitive, contentious, continually
aroused over some offense— real or imaginary— and conse-
quently unhappy. The people who place the emphasis on
their duties and the service they may render to others have
neither time nor disposition to become offended.
We need not complain that life has no joy so long as
there is someone whom we may help and whose burden we
The road to unhappiness is to lay stress on our rights.
People are naturally stubborn; they will not give us our
rights. If they would, there is no telling what we might be
or where. We might have risen so fast and so high that we
would have knocked the bottom out of the top. We achieve
happiness as we lay stress on our duties.
A woman complained to her pastor: "I have been a
member of this church for three years, and very few mem-
bers have spoken to me. I am going to quit."
The pastor replied, "You have been a member three
years. How many have you spoken to?"
She said, "Oh, I never thought of that."
As a member of the church, the secret of your happiness
or unhappiness depends on whether you are thinking of
what others can do for you or what you can do for others.
If you contend for your rights, you run into a blind alley;
you are hedged in. But when it comes to duties, you are on
a thoroughfare which nobody can block.
Dr. Walter Russell Bowie in his volume Remembering
Christ relates a most illustrative contrast. A few years ago
two men left messages to the members of their families. One
of them gave in substance the instructions to do nothing
to endanger the security of their property. The second one
wrote: "My son, do not cry. Be strong to comfort your
mother. Do not seek happiness for yourself. Step down to
help the weak ones who cry for help."
The writer of the first of these two messages, who was
92 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
concerned about the rights of his property, was a promi-
nent businessman of international reputation and was
highly respected by the churches. The one who wrote the
second message urging on his son his duty to "the weak
ones who cry for help" was a man whom thousands be-
lieved to be innocent of the crime of which he was accused,
but who was executed in Charlestown, Massachusetts pris-
on, for a crime which to the last he denied having com-
mitted. His name was Nicola Sacco. He was hated and
fearer because he was a communist. Nevertheless, the fact
remains that the communist who died in an electric chair
blazed with a passion of pity for the poor when he wrote to
his little son, "Step down to help the weak ones who cry
In contrast to those words the message of the great busi-
nessman, whose chief concern was that his heirs should not
endanger the security of their property, seems pitifully
cheap and sordid. The second man, regarded as disrep-
utable, placed emphasis on a duty to the disadvantaged.
The first man, highly respected, placed emphasis on the
rights of his pampered heirs.
We are to place the emphasis on our duties rather than
rights in all of life's manifold relationships from the home j
to international affairs. Happiness belongs to the home
when each member of the family is more intent on what I
he can do for the other members than what they can do
Peace will prevail in industry as employers and em-
ployees alike think more of their duties and less of their
rights. The idea with some today is that the relationship :
of an employer and his employee "shall be about as cordial
as that between a bulldog and a back-fence tomcat."
In international relationships, the strife and misery and
inconceivable wretchedness of our world today result from
misplaced emphasis of the nations. They have placed sole
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 93
emphasis on their rights and have neglected their duties.
Because our political leaders have regarded Jesus as a
visionary leader, they have missed the way to harmony and
happiness and peace among the nations. The way of Jesus
is the only practical way, and he would save uc, not merely
from some future hell, but from hell in the world.
The selfish philosophy of life is responsible for abject
poverty, wretched slums, industrial strife, and the mass
murder of war. The nations have waded through seas of
blood, destroying millions of lives and billions of property,
because they have not discovered that, not the strife of
nations, but the brotherhood of nations is the only work-
able principle. Men have been obsessed by military pomp,
and the ladies by uniforms and brass buttons. The whole
wretched business is insane and criminal.
The insanity and criminality are not to be accredited to
the soldiers who were thrown irresistibly into the bloody
conflict. The blame belongs to the selfish and muddle-
headed political leaders of the nations who in their di-
plomacy sow the dragon's teeth for future wars.
The nations contended for their rights, or supposed
rights, and ignored their duties and came to the edge of
the precipice. Nothing is practical in our world except
the Christian way. The world has tried hatred, greed,
revenge, and selfishness and has come to the brink of perdi-
tion. It is curious that we must stand up in the twentieth
century and plead with the people who bear his name that
Jesus Christ is not a visionary leader, that his way is the
living way, and that our only safety is to trust and follow
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!"
94 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleepl
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men!"
The one indispensable remedy for the selfish disposition
is divine forgiveness.
Self-centeredness is sin. Sin is ever a discordant element
and is destructive of happiness. Man is so constituted that
he cannot live in sin without the visitation of remorse and
the pangs of a guilty conscience. In spite of an outward
serenity, the minds of evil people are like the waves of a
troubled sea. All efforts to minimize sin, to deny its real-
ity, to deaden the conscience, fail at last. "There is no
peace, saith my God to the wicked." Happiness is possible'
only from the joyful assurance of divine forgiveness. Mase-;
field says in "The Everlasting Mercy":
I did not think, I did not strive,
The deep peace burnt my me alive;
The bolted door had broken in,
I knew that I had done with sin.
I knew that Christ had given me birtK
To brother all the souls on earth,
And every bird and every beast
Should share the crumbs broke at the feast. 3 :
"The deep peace burnt my me alive."
THE TOUCHSTONE OF PROGRESS
The test of spiritual growth is to be found in love. This
does not mean a vague and pointless generalization. When
this test is rightly made, it becomes very definite and
specific, and we can readily see our success or failure. To
1 Used by permission of The Maemillan Co.
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE 93
apply the test of whether our self-centeredness is on the
wane, and our love is increasing calls not for a morbid
introspection, but for the self-examination which the
Paul in First Corinthians, chapter thirteen, furnishes a
measuring rod. The Moffatt translation makes the distinc-
tion between self-centeredness and love. With sincerity
we can determine for ourselves our progress or lack of
progress. "Love is very patient, very kind. Love knows no
jealousy; love makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is
never rude, never selfish, never irritated, never resentful;
love is never glad when others go wrong, love is gladdened
by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe
the best, always hopeful, always patient."
The prayer of Paul for the Ephesians is: "May you be so
fixed and founded in love that you can grasp with all the
saints what is the meaning of 'the Breadth,' 'the Length,'
'the Depth,' and 'the Height,' by knowing the love of
Christ which surpasses all knowledge!"
His prayer for the Philippians is: "And it is my prayer
that your love may be more and more rich in knowledge
and all manner of insight, enabling you to have a sense of
what is vital."
To the Colossians he expresses his deep concern "for all
who have never seen my face. . . . May they learn the mean-
ing of love!"
Henry van Dyke asked Lord Tennyson if he would in-
scribe on his portrait those lines from his poems which he
would wish to be remembered though all the rest were for-
gotten. Tennyson without hesitation wrote on his portrait
the memorable lines from "Locksley Hall":
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all its chords
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out
96 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
The spiritual progress of the individual is measured by
his increasing power to say "no" to self. He becomes less
self-centered and increasingly Christ-centered. This is ex- (
pressed in a hymn that is not very singable and is there-
fore, not familiar:
O the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be
When I let the Saviour's pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answered,
"All of self, and none of thee."
Yet he found me; I beheld him
Bleeding on the accursed tree,
Heard him pray, "Forgive them, Father!"
And my wistful heart said faintly,
"Some of self, and some of theel"
Day by day his tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and, ah! so patient,
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
"Less of self, and more of thee."
Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, thy love at last hath conquered;
Grant me now my supplication.
"None of self, and all of thee."
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR
Bondage of fear is one of the tragical facts of human life.
Basil King in Conquest of Fear wrote: "When I say that
during most of my life I have been the prey of fear, I
take it that I am expressing the case of most people."
Dr. George W. Truett was to speak at a college for a week.
The president sent out a questionnaire to students as to
what subject they wanted to hear discussed. A majority of
the student body replied that they wanted the visiting
preacher to tell them how to conquer fear. We have too
often failed to declare the gospel message in a way that
would remove the dark specter of fear from the minds
of men. G. K. Chesterton, the British essayist, said, "If I
had but one sermon to preach, it would be on fear."
THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF FEAR
The traditional view would carry fear back to Adam's
fall, "I was afraid." The scientific view traces man from
lower forms of life, and his heritage of fear from all of his
upward strivings and conflicts of the past. In the first case
man met fear on the way down; in the second case he met
it on the way up. In any event, primitive man in his igno-
rance of natural law was obsessed by fear. An eclipse
meant that the sun was being swallowed up. Men were
victims in the hands of supernatural powers. Evil demons
abounded on every hand. The ancient world was under
the bondage of fear. The fear of evil spirits and all kinds
98 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
of terror loomed large. The saving work of Christ con-
sisted in large part of freeing man from such fears. Dis-
ease, as the Gospels show, was accounted for by demon
possession. Even today the same kind of fear haunts the
backward people. Albert Schweitzer, writing of his mis-
sionary work in Africa, said that for the Negro Christian-
ity is the light that shines in the night of his fear.
Another author writes: "A difference between a Chris-
tian and a cannibal is that a Christian knows how to
sleep, and a cannibal does not. We sent missionaries to the
heathen to teach them how to sleep, and preachers ought
to ask, as a condition of church membership, 'Do you
sleep well?' " The question might also be asked for a
negative answer: "Do you sleep in church?"
Various forms of superstition existed, since there was no
idea of God and law. The universe, as men knew it, was
peopled by a multitude of demons— little demons, big
demons, petty mischievous demons, fearful devastating
devils— all conscious of man, whose chief concern was to
propitiate them so that at least they might leave him alone.
These demons were disturbed when human beings were
happy. Even in marriage there was the fear of jealous
demons and divine lovers. The bride was veiled so as to
conceal her identity. The custom of the best man was to
deceive the demons as to who was in reality the happy
groom. But there was marriage in spite of fear. The
custom of ringing the church bell was not for the original
purpose of summoning people to church, but to frighten
away the demons that settled around the steeple— and that
sometimes settled down lower than the steeple.
A fear of the dead cast a heavy gloom. The corpse was
carried out feet first so that he could not see his way back.
Primitive man felt that the dead had power to work injury.
The extravagance of mourning customs was to convince
the ghosts that they were grief stricken. It was necessary
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 99
to stay awake with the corpse; for if a watcher fell asleep,
the ghost might entice his soul away. The loud lamenta-
tions were to drive away the demons which would gather
around a dead body. The eyes of the dead were closed to
avert the evil eye. Food was supplied to appease the dead.
Fasting was practiced because, if a hungry ghost saw a
person eating food, he might enter the body of the living
and harm him. The custom of rending the garments was a
disguise to prevent the spirits from working harm. The
custom of putting on black for mourning is a survival of the
effort to disguise. Laceration and putting on of sackcloth
were disguises to prevent the ghosts from inflicting injury.
Primitive man feared darkness, since ghosts stalked
abroad at night. He feared lest vampires suck his blood
while he was asleep. The black shadow of fear constantly
This is not to say that the idea of God and prayer and
religion originated in fear. The origin and growth of reli-
gion cannot be traced to a single emotion. The emotions
of reverence, wonder, awe, a sense of mystery, and a feel-
ing of dependence were also present. Present in all re-
ligion was the longing for good as well as the fear of evil,
the gratitude of praise as well as the gloom of fear.
Fear was not left behind in the ancient world. From
life's beginning to its close, we run the gamut of varied
forms of fear. Dr. George A. Buttrick in his volume on
Prayer writes: "Fear is perhaps a primary instinct. It finds
us in childhood when we cower beneath bedclothes, fol-
lows us in midlife through our dread of poverty or failure
or sickness, and overtakes us at last in the vague appre-
hension of death."
We are not sick all the time, we are not sinning all the
time, we are not sorrowful all the time, but some form
of fear is lurking and lingering in the mind all the time.
We live in a fear-stricken world.
100 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
THE TWOFOLD BONDAGE
Man is under the twofold bondage of sin and fear. Sim
produces fear, and fear produces sin. This is not to say 1
that all fear is the result of sin. The pulpit has placed due
emphasis on deliverance from sin; it has had comparatively
little to say about deliverance from fear. Jesus talked
more about fear than any other subject. He had many
things to say about sin, but he spoke of fear more than he
spoke of sin. Time and time again he said, "Fear not,"
"Be not afraid," "Be not anxious."
I confess that I crave more than all else the faith and
assurance of the psalmist: "I sought the Lord, and he . .
delivered me out of all my fears."
The mission of Jesus is not only to deliver us from sin,
but to free us from fear. Not only his teachings but many
of his miracles— the cure of those possessed by demons-
involved the removal of fear. Men and women came to him
tempest-tossed with inner storms of emotional anxieties,
and went away with the calmness of the eternal within
their inner spirits. His touch still has its ancient power.
Faith in him is the potent remedy for fear.
It may not be good orthodoxy, but I will risk the state-
ment that it requires more faith and a larger measure of
divine power to save a man from fear than to save him
from sin. The spirits of many saints who had the assurance
of divine forgiveness were still disturbed by fear.
The infant begins life with only two distinct fears:
the fear of falling and the fear of a loud noise. But very
soon the phobias begin to multiply, running through the
alphabet from acrophobia, the fear of heights, to zoopho-
bia, the fear of animals. There is afforded a linguistic
paradise to the person who likes to use big words. We
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 101
' enumerate only a few of these phobias. Agoraphobia is
the fear of open spaces. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed
spaces. The victim of this fear should be tenderly dealt
with by the preacher. When a child, he was shut up in a
closet so that he has a terror of a closed space, especially
Ergophobia is the fear of work. An employee said to the
company physician, "I eat well and I sleep well; but when
I see a job of work, it sets me all atremble." Ochlophobia
is the fear of a crowd— the fear that a preacher has on
Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Pressphobia is the fear
of publicity, the dread of the limelight, a fear that also
afflicts some preachers. Phobophobia is the fear of fear.
Pantophobia is the fear of everything.
In addition to the heavy load of phobias, very many in
our modern age still cling to various superstitious fears
despite the contribution of scientific knowledge. A com-
pany of thirteen in a social gathering means calamity for
some of the group. Well, if it is a dinner, somebody is
liable to overeat; and that is bad luck. A hotel in Atlanta,
Georgia, numbers the floor just above twelve fourteen, as
if it were not in reality thirteen in spite of the false number.
Another ill omen is for a black cat to cross the road. I
was once riding out of a cemetery when the driver became
suddenly agitated. He said, "Didn't you see that black cat?"
I replied, "Yes, what of it?"
He answered, "It means bad luck. I was driving the
other day when a black cat crossed the road, and I came
very near running off a bridge."
I began to psychologize to the effect that his fear had
produced a nervous condition. He became angry and
asked who would fly in the face of providence. I dropped
A group of joy riders were going sixty miles an hour
when a black cat crossed the road. The driver said, "Bad
102 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
luck, spit over your left shoulder." It was too late. The
car in making the curve turned turtle; and, when the
driver regained consciousness, he rubbed the sand out of
his mouth and said: "Some rascal didn't spit."
Even some religious people have the idea that God is
such a capricious Being that he would bring a calamity on
people because of thirteen or a black cat.
THE DAMAGE OF FEAR
A physical injury results from the derangement of the
digestive process and the creation of poison in the blood
stream. The effect on the mind is to produce nervousness,
the gloom of the hypochondriac, insanity, and suicide. An
estimate is that 85 per cent of the mental and emotional
breakdowns come directly from fears. The spiritual dam-
age is that fear results in cowardice and falsehood. It
blocks the way of spiritual progress. The man in the
parable of Jesus said, "I was afraid, . . . and hid thy talent."
Fear prevents the exercise of faith which makes the
spiritual venture. Fear is the foe of faith. Dr. Crile said:
"When a man fears, he does not fear with the mind alone,
but every cell and tissue of the body fears." Fear is the
primary cause of the larger portion of our mental and
spiritual disorders. Fear produces hatred, and we hate [
those whom we fear, and fear those whom we hate. Fear is
the causal factor which produces the thing we fear— "The
thing which I greatly feared is come upon me." The "fear-
ful" are listed in Revelation with those guilty of the gross-
er sins. While fear increases sugar in the blood, it increases
bitterness in the spirit and makes man revengeful.
THE USEFUL FUNCTION OF FEAR
Despite the peril of unregulated fear, recognition must
be made of the legitimate place of fear in human progress
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 103
and welfare. The fear of an accident produces caution in
the pedestrian as he crosses the street. The fear of giving
the wrong prescription makes the druggist careful. The
prudent automobilist fears to pass on a hill. The fear of
sickness leads us to observe temperate habits. The fear of
disease leads to progress in medical science. The fear of
ignorance results in schools and educational progress.
The fear of penalty that follows the violation of the
natural and moral laws of God has served as a strong
motive for obedience to law. A scriptural injunction is:
"Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." We are
to have a reverential fear of God which is higher than
the fear of divine retribution.
The fear of death, when it does not assume a morbid
and harmful form, serves a beneficent function. This
natural and instinctive fear which clings to the best and
the worst serves as a safeguard against suicide as an easy
escape out of the world.
An importance belongs to fear in the interest of safety
and life. In primitive days the men and animals who were
not devoured were the men and animals who were afraid
and escaped. Those who were not afraid or were afraid too
late were destroyed. Fear has been the spur of progress.
The adrenalin that is poured into the blood of a
frightened man may result in the saving of his life. A boy
was chased by an infuriated bull and leaped a fence. The
next day he returned to the spot and tried repeatedly to
jump the fence but was unable to do so. A man in a similar
situation said that he thought he was running as fast as he
could; but, when the horns of the animal touched his coat-
tail, he decided that he could make much better timel
There is the wholesome instinct of fear which leads us
to carefulness. Otherwise, it would not be safe to walk the
streets of our cities. A life devoid of this kind of fear
104 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
which leads to self-preservation is not a mark of courage
but of insensibility. The fear instinct in time of danger
calls out our reserve powers and gives an added strength
which is not possible without it. The incident is given of a
frail little woman who carried out of a burning building
her paralytic husband who weighed 175 pounds. Fear re-
leased a stream of energy which gave to the woman more
than her ordinary strength.
How shall we solve the apparent contradictions in con-
nection with fear? We face a paradox. Fear is forbidden,
and fear is enjoined. "The fear of the Lord is the begin-
ning of wisdom." Fear is sinful— a denial of God, a failure
of faith, and practical atheism. But it would be the most
tragical of all tragedies if we were free from fear in our
wrongdoing. Fear is the scourge of God that will not let us
rest so long as we try to build life and civilization on the
rotten foundation of wrong. A distinction must be made.
Evidently the fear against which Jesus so emphatically
warns us consists of a distrust of God, and of all the morbid
and injurious forms of fear which weaken human life. The
biblical admonitions are directed against the sinful form
of fear. That is the kind of fear which we are to strive to
FEARS HAVE MULTIPLIED
The fear arising out of war has been intense and prac-
tically universal. Never before were so many in the grip
of fear as during the period of a.d. 1939-45. The forebod-
ing for the future has not been lifted by the defeat of the
Axis nations. Science that removes superstition has im-
mensely multiplied fears through its practical application
in the invention of the destructive implements of war.
We have ceased to fear the demons that people the air,
but we live in dread of bombs dropped from the air.
Fear produces war, and war in turn produces fear. The
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 105
nations arm through fear. A South Georgia Negro said,
"I'se actually so dangerous, I'se scared of myself."
Modern man is hagridden by the fear that he may com-
mit corporate suicide. Entire nations are fearful on account
of international rivalry and competition. The failure
rightly to adjust our international relationships and to
recognize our interrelatedness and interdependence is the
prolific source of fear. People cling to the idea and the
ideal of absolute national sovereignty. Each nation is its
own judge and jury and sheriff. Under the sway of the god
of nationalism there can be no relief from fear. There can
be no sense of security for a nation except as it is stronger
in military preparation than all other nations combined.
For each nation to be stronger than all the others is a
fallacy which the wayfaring man, even though he be a
United States senator, should be able to see.
The attitude, however, toward military preparation has
been suddenly changed. We have been plunged into a new
era. The atomic bomb will finally knock out the advocacy
of compulsory military training and the goose step. The
most rampant militarists are being forced into pacifism.
No place is left for the agelong military procedure when
an atomic bomb can destroy a whole army or a whole city.
Pilotless planes and long-range rockets will render large
standing armies obsolete.
The defense of war has become an anachronism. We
shall witness the passing of the militant preacher who
reconciled himself to any amount of bloodshed so long
as he thought the Scriptures were being fulfilled. We
shall witness the passing of the diplomats and politicians
who were strong on proxy patriotism and who were
willing to sacrifice the lives of others in defense of their
country. Blood did not look so red at a distance. The
practical defense of war for the sake of profits has become
outmoded. These practical and profiteering defenders of
106 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
war were able to make their purses full while they kept
their full paunches out of the danger zone. There will
also be relegated to the past the sentimental defense with
the glorifying of war and the worship of brass buttons and
The atomic bomb has not knocked out hate and selfish
greed. It will, however, practically compel the nations to a
peaceful settlement of disputes if civilization is to endure.
But men will continue to shudder under the dark shadow
of fear until they realize that peace is secure. Two factors
will produce permanent peace: international co-operation
and spiritual transformation.
First of all is the demand for international co-operation.
For a nation to be the sole arbiter of its own acts is the
road to continued conflicts. The burden of increasing
fears can be lifted from the people of the earth only by a
World Court and a union of nations strong enough to
enforce the decisions of the court on any lawless and
aggressive nation. This high possibility can be achieved
and must be achieved if we are to live in a world where
there is comparative freedom from fear.
The second factor is spiritual transformation. General
Douglas MacArthur, after the unconditional surrender of
The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual
recrudescence and improvement of human character that will
synchronize with our almost matchless advance in science, art,
literature, and all material and cultural development of the
past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit, if we are
to save the flesh.
The whole mass of ugly fear will never be lifted until
we come to the realization and practice of the gospel of
Jesus Christ that we are one family of God, who is our
Father, and that we all are brethren.
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 107
The fear of national decay belongs to some of our most
thoughtful citizens. Our greatest peril is from internal
foes. "A man's foes shall be they of his own household."
No nation has ever been added to the wrecks of the cen-
turies unless it was first weakened by its own internal
corruption. We are the most drunken nation on earth, hav-
ing spent even in time of war seven billion dollars a year
on sarong drink. The liquor traffic has a strangle hold on
our nation. This dragon of darkness must be met by the
spiritual forces of the church with the realization that it is
a war to the death. Sensuality pervades our society and
threatens the home. The calculation is that, at the present
rate of divorce increase, by the year 1965 there will be as
many divorces as marriages. Racial hatred and intolerance
and injustice toward minority groups are evident on every
hand. The crime bill reaches a total of thirteen billion
dollars a year. We have selfish greed and luxury on the
part of the rich, and sullen resentment on the part of the
Very pronounced at present is the peril of the pride of
victory and pompous strut. Peace has her defeats no less
disastrous than war.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget— lest we forget!
The danger from enemies within is forcefully depicted
by Edwin Markham in "The Menace of the Tower":
In storied Venice, down whose rippling streets
The stars go hurrying, and the white moon beats,
Stood the great Bell Tower, fronting seas and skies,
Fronting the ages, drawing all men's eyes;
Rooted like Tenerifte, aloft and proud,
Taunting the lightning, tearing the flying cloud.
108 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
It marked the hours for Venice; all men said
Time cannot reach to bow that lofty head;
Time, that shall touch all else with ruin, must
Forbear to make this shaft confess its dust;
Yet all the while, in secret, without sound,
The fat worms gnawed the timbers underground.
The twisting worm, whose epoch is an hour,
Caverned its way into the mighty tower;
And suddenly it shook, it swayed, it broke,
And fell in darkening thunder at one stroke.
The strong shaft, with an angel on the crown,
Fell ruining; a thousand years went down.
And so I fear, my country, not the hand
That shall hurl night and whirlwind on the land;
I fear not Titan traitors who shall rise
To stride like Brocken shadows on our skies—
Not giants who shall come to overthrow
And send on earth an Iliad of woe.
I fear the vermin that shall undermine
Senate and citadel and school and shrine
The Worm of Greed, the fatted Worm of Ease,
And all the crawling progeny of these—
The vermin that shall honeycomb the towers
And walls of state in unsuspecting hours. 1
It may be added that to give emphasis to the perils that
threaten us is not to wail in the minor key. The recognition
of the danger is to put us on our guard. An incalculable
amount of fear and unhappiness is caused by a hopeless
outlook on the future. The faith that takes the long
perspective will not fall into melancholic lamentation. As
we look, not at the decades, but at the centuries and
millenniums, we note the unmistakable evidence of human
1 Reprinted by permission of Virgil Markham.
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 109
progress. Whatever may be the doom and downfall of
nations, humanity sweeps onward. While there are dif-
ferent scriptures difficult to reconcile, yet the Christian
gospel has a hopeful outlook on the future. The New
Testament is marked by apostolic optimism.
Jesus was sure of the future, sure that love is stronger
than hate, that right is stronger than wrong. His faith was
in the ultimate victory of the good. "Every plant, which
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."
We come next to some fears of the more individual and
The morbid fear of disease and sickness shadows the
mind. Vague pains and feelings of discomfort are mag-
nified into fatal maladies. There is the dread of bacteria
and germs. A woman in riding a short distance changed
street cars three times to avoid the dangerous bacteria, as
if she would find fewer in one car than another. Consult
your doctor occasionally and dismiss morbid fears.
The fear of poverty besets rich and poor alike. William
James said that poverty is the American's idea of hell. We
create a dilemma to the effect that, if we do not worry, we
will go to the poorhouse; and, if we do, we will go to the
sanitarium. The forecast has been made that, at the present
rate of our fear and nervous anxiety, by the year 2139 the
world will be one vast insane asylum.
There are those who fear the truth. Reference is not
made to the fear of telling the truth, which would be a
separate discussion, but the fear of knowing the truth. A
woman said in my hearing: "No medical examination for
me; it might be discovered that I have a fatal malady."
But ignorance is not a cure for anything. Some people are
afraid to know more for fear they might believe less.
Their fear of the loss of faith is a fear that betrays the
absence of a real faith. The churchmen in the time of Gali-
leo refused to look through his telescope for fear they might
110 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
see something new which would disturb their faith. A
genuine faith is illustrated in the incident of an Irishman
who was building a stone wall. He was asked if he was not
afraid a strong wind would blow it down. He replied, "I
am building it two feet high and three feet wide, and if
the wind blows it down, it will be higher than it was to
start with." The person with a strong faith knows that
through all the changing scenes and difficulties of life his
faith will emerge higher and stronger than before.
The fear of old age robs life of much of its radiance.
This fear is not enlarged upon, since a chapter is devoted
to old age.
Men are obsessed with the fear of life. The responsi-
bility of life weighs heavily on the spirit, with the dread of
possible failure. Instead of the realization that some failure
may prove a step toward ultimate success, discouragement
prevails, and self-confidence is lost.
The fear of man is manifested in various ways. Very
few rise to the heights of the apostolic courage: "We must
obey God rather than man."
We eat and sleep and toil and plod,
And go to Church on Sunday,
Some of us are afraid of God,
And more of Mrs. Grundy.
We have largely overcome the fear of magic but not the
fear of the majority. There is the fear of those who are in
places of authority. People fear that they will not attain
some social standing and fear that they may lose whatever
standing they have. This fear of men also arises out of a
feeling of inferiority. This results in the assumption of a
superior air. As a sort of compensation the attitude of
pompousness is assumed. A pompous individual was
strutting down the aisle of an auditorium when a small
boy asked, "Mama, is that God's older brother?" We have
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 111
overcome some fears, but there still abides a fear of man,
"whose breath is in his nostrils."
We have the fear of being misrepresented, misunder-
stood, unappreciated, ignored, and unrecognized.
The fear of self-expression belongs to very many people.
This has no reference to the group who clamor for self-
expression when they have nothing worth expressing, but it
refers to those who through timidity or cowardice fail to
express themselves. The old Scotch woman after her hus-
band's death was lamenting the fact that during fifty years
she had never told him that she loved him. It was of no
use to sob over her neglect. She had let pass a half century
There are those who in order to avoid giving expression
to their ignorance on a subject will resort to evasion. An
Irishman went to his priest with the question: "Father,
what is the difference between cherubim and seraphim?"
The priest scratched his head for a moment and replied,
"Pat, don't you worry about that. There was a difference
once, but it has been adjusted."
A further form of evasion on the part of a public speaker
is to discover the opinions of his audience and withhold
the expression of any idea which might be objectionable
to his hearers. The story is told of a candidate for senatorial
honors who was scheduled to speak in a small town.
Anxious to discover the religious affiliation of the majority
of his audience, he addressed them in this manner: "My
great-grandfather was an Episcopalian [silence], but my
great-grandmother belonged to the Presbyterian Church
[more silence]. My grandfather was a Baptist [silence],
but my grandmother was a Congregationalist [continued
silence]. But I had a great-aunt who was a Methodist [loud
applause]— and I have always followed my great-aunt!"
When freedom of expression might possibly result in a
loss of position, the refuge is in silence or a cowardly
112 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
evasion. There arose centuries ago the cynical maxim: "If
a man will hold his tongue, he can hold anything."
In many instances, silence is not golden, but is the
mark of counterfeit character.
To sin by silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men.
THE FEAR OF DEATH
This fear looms as a dark cloud on the horizon of life.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of those "who through fear
of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
First of all, there is the fear from the anticipation of the
pain and horror of death. A noted physician has said that
99 per cent of all deaths are painless. In the course of life a
thousand times more pain is suffered than in death. The
majority of people die unconsciously. Even when people
face death consciously, the terror has passed away. I heard
Dr. James A. Moffatt say that in all of his experiences he
had never found anyone face to face with death who was
any longer afraid. He said that he had inquired of nurses,
and their testimony was the same, except with a few very
rich persons who seemed to think that they would not
have quite as good a time in the next world as they had
enjoyed in this world. As we have experienced living
grace, so shall we find dying grace.
Again we fear death because it breaks the continuity
of life. Victor Hugo said, "I need a thousand years to do
what I have in mind." What kind of activity shall be ours
in the future life? The fear of uncertainty as to the pos-
sibility and nature of our activity besets the mind.
With a diminishing number there is the fear of the
torture of eternal retribution. This fear does not have
the prevalence it had in former days.
In our modern age very many are haunted by the lurking
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 113
fear of annihilation or extinction. Thomas Henry Huxley
declared: "When I think that in 1900 I shall know no
more nor be no more than in 1800, it comes over me with
a horror which I cannot express. The fact is that rather
than cease to be I had rather be in hell, if I could have a
place where the climate and company are not too trying."
Jesus strikes the note of certainty: "Let not your heart
be troubled. ... In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you."
My knowledge of that life is small;
The eye of faith is dim;
But 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.
The faith of the Christian as expressed by Paul is:
"There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
In connection with the fear of death, there is the be-
setting fear of the loss of life's labor and self-sacrifice. The
despairing doubt torments us as to whether or not the
imperishable values of life are preserved beyond time.
We do not care to give our lives to the good, if the good is
finally to lose out. If we could have the assurance that life
is not defeated by death, we would relish the heroic and
daring venture. We would be willing to throw ourselves
against the insolent and brutal forces of evil at the cost
of suffering and scorn death if we only knew that we
were fighting for a winning cause. The faith that endures
is the faith that discerns the invisible. "Let us not be weary
in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
114 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
not." "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your
labour is not in vain in the Lord."
Furthermore, in regard to death, there is the lurking
fear in my own mind that I may not know after death
how the moral and spiritual values thrive on earth. I am
concerned to know what is taking place in the world after
I leave it. Reconcilation to death would be much easier.
The veil appears to hang thick between time and eternity.
We cannot penetrate the veil from this side. The matter
of recognition in heaven does not perplex me, but whether
or not I shall know not only how it goes with loved ones
left behind, but also how it goes with society and civiliza-
tion at large. I trust that from the other side we can see
through the veil and observe the upward march of hu-
manity. I trust that then I shall not "see through a glass
darkly; but . . . shall . . . know even as also I am known."
THE CURE OF FEAR
We have seen that the forms of fear are legion and cling
like leeches to the mind. Is there any light on the dark
shadow of fear? Where shall we look for the cure of fear?
We call attention to some helpful considerations before
coming to the function of religion and spiritual faith.
We should reckon with the physical. Bodily illness
breeds fears. We should take vigilant care of health and
strengthen our physical energies for daily living. Play and
recreation are destroyers of phobias. Through sports and
games subjectivity is removed, and fears dwindle.
We are to occupy ourselves in useful work which does
not leave the mind to a random wandering. The reading
of books of a sane and wholesome type produces healthful
emotions and fortifies the mind against false fears.
Selecting cheerful companionship is a fortification
against fear. Associate with people who have courage and
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 115
optimism. Courage is contagious. A courageous soul will
pour iron into your blood. The hopeful spirit radiates
hope. This does not mean that we are to hold ourselves
aloof from the fearful and the depressed, but it does mean
that we shall be prepared to impart strength to others
and not to receive weakness from others.
Talk over your fears with an understanding friend who
can enter wisely and sympathetically into your state of
mind. John Rathbone Oliver in his book on Fear makes his
main character say after he had opened his heart to the
physician: "It was as if he had pulled out a plug, and all the
stuff that had settled in the bottom of my heart flowed out."
To share our fear with the right person is to lessen its power
We are not on the road toward a remedy until we fairly
face our fears. We are not to try the way of escape from
fears and seek to hide from them. We are to make our
vague fears as definite as possible and courageously con-
front them. Flight from fear affords no relief; you cannot
dodge the issue.
As we boldly face our fears, the first step has been taken
toward the cure. The fears, when fairly faced, may vanish
like Hambone's ghost. Hambone said that he knew it was
a ghost because when he reached out to "tech" it, it was
not there, and when it reached out to "tech" him, he was
The cure of some forms of fear is found in removing
the cause. Medical science has reduced fear by greatly
reducing the death rate from tuberculosis, by a large re-
duction of the maternal mortality rate and also of the
death rate for babies. Medical science has almost removed
the fear of infection and in numerous other ways reduced
the mortality rate. The hopeful forecast has been made
that the main sources of human suffering are almost en-
tirely conquerable by human care and effort. Furthermore,
116 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
scientific knowledge is sufficient for the cure of supersti-
tious fears. But the fact must be faced that there are some
fears which are beyond human power to relieve and too
deep-seated for science ever to reach. Only faith in God
can relieve many of the dreads of life. The psalmist says,
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me
from all my fears." A vital religious faith is the only ulti-
mate cure of fear.
I do not know beneath what sky
Or on what sea shall be my fate
I only know it will be high
I only know it will be great.
We may gain strength against fear as we meditate upon
the great words of Scripture. "Fear not, Abram: I am thy
shield, and thy exceeding great reward." It is the constant
exhortation of Jesus, "Fear not therefore: ye are of more
value than many sparrows." From Genesis to Revelation
runs the refrain "Fear not" which will set the joy bells
ringing in your soul.
We are assisted in the mastery of fear as we consider
Jesus. Back of his admonition "Fear not" was his own fear-
less life. One man has lived in our world without fear. Dr.
Chester Warren Quimby in a volume Jesus as They Re-
membered Him wrote: "Two emotions Jesus is represented
as never having experienced, fear and personal hate." He
was the one man truly fearless, whether in the midst of a
raging storm at sea or in the midst of the fiercer rage of
His faith in God's fatherly care overcame fear. The
perfection of his love expelled fear. Love is an antidote of
fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out
fear." Love for a worthy cause, love for a loved one, love
for God make us fearless in our devotion. With this love
we risk life itself in utter self-forgetfulness.
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR 117
We may possess at the very core of our personality the
eternal unsearchable riches in Jesus Christ, which all the
incidents and accidents of time are powerless to take away
from us. All the evil forces of earth and hell combined
are powerless to enter the inner citadel of our spirits and
deprive us of those abiding and permanent spiritual values.
"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The joyful note runs through all the Scripture like a
strain of melodious music: "Fear not"; "Do not be afraid";
"I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and
have the keys of hell and of death."
Oh the torment of fear— black, ugly fear that haunts the
threshold of the mind and rushes through the open door!
It is fear that drives reason from the throne of the mind,
creates a million dark demons that terrify the soul, turns
the love of God into the hate of a cruel despot, and trans-
forms the harmony of the soul into a disordered bedlam.
It is fear that changes radiant hope into lurid despair, tugs
at the heartstrings like a weight of lead, and clutches the
heart with the grip of a devil's hand.
If God should give me the power of bestowing one
supreme boon on humanity, I would lead every troubled
fearful soul into the deep current of the river of the
water of life, where the fevered brows would be cooled and
the aching hearts bathed in the healing waters.
Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
THE CONDITIONS OF HAPPINESS
We are on the way to poise and peace if we accept our-
selves as we are — that is, if we construe this in the right
way. William James quotes a lady as saying that the hap-
piest day of her life was the day she ceased trying to be
beautiful. If the number of beauty shops are an indication,
not many of our women have come to this viewpoint.
Some years ago I boarded a small train on a branch
railroad and entered into a conversation with a Negro
porter, who was busy about his work. In the course of his
remarks, he said, "I'm so glad I'm black, I don't know what
to do. I jes' wish I was a shade darker." I did not see how
that was possible; but, anyway, he lingers in my mind as
a picture of contentment.
Many people are tormented by a discontent with their
position or work or station in life. They are dissatisfied
with their task and look with envious eyes on others who
are more prosperous. The Scriptures give constant empha-
sis to the attainment of contentment. "A good man shall
be satisfied from himself." "Godliness with contentment
is great gain. . . . And having food and raiment let us
be therewith content." "Be content with such things as
ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor
Discontent also arises from disappointed ambition. The
aspiration to achieve distinction in some field of human
endeavor has not been realized. We are to recognize not
only the difference of talents but the inequality of talents.
122 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
We are to do the work appointed for us, however humble,
and preserve our self-reverence. We have no right to
complain, since we are not making full use of the talents
that we possess.
You are not only to reconcile yourself to such gifts as
you possess; you are to adjust yourself to the situation
which confronts you. Even though endowed with five
talents, you may be called upon to adapt yourself to a
subordinate position. The dominance of ambition and
pride may prevent this adaptation so that the higher goal
may be missed.
Daniel Webster was an intellectual giant of his day with
his heart set on being president of the nation. When Har-
rison was nominated, Webster was sought for vice-presi-
dent. He was too proud to take second place. It went to
John Tyler. A month after inauguration Harrison died,
and Tyler became president. Again Webster refused to be
running mate for Zachary Taylor, who died in about one
year after his inauguration and left Millard Fillmore,
who was vice-president, to succeed to the presidency. Thus
for the second time the unbending ambition of Webster
deprived him of the goal of his aspirations. A refusal to
accept the second place deprived him of the first place.
Hiram Johnson refused second place on the ticket with
Harding. Coolidge accepted the vice-presidency and, fol-
lowing the death of Harding, became president.
The spirit of discontent leads us to want to be what we
are not, and to want to go where we are not.
Dr. Russell H. Conwell in a lecture on "Acres of Dia-
monds" told a true story of an old Persian, Ali Hafed, who
owned a large farm and was contented until visited by a
Buddhist priest who told him of the value of diamonds.
The old man could not sleep and sold his farm and went
out to find a diamond mine. At last, discouraged, he threw
himself into the waves between the pillars of Hercules.
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 123
The man who bought the farm led his camel down to the
brook. He saw a flash of light and discovered the world's
richest diamond mine— the Golconda. The largest dia-
monds on earth come from that mine.
Men have become dissatisfied with their circumstances,
and have lost the fortune that was within reach in a vain
search for some far-off treasure.
POISE, NOT POSE
As we accept ourselves as we are, we cultivate poise
rather than pose. We are to be natural according to the
best significance of the term. You have heard the preacher
who speaks in unnatural and tearful tones. We are to avoid
a weak imitation. If any two of us are alike, one of us can
According to Paul, "Charity vaunteth not itself, is not
The false assumption is that to be natural is to be our
worst self. To be natural in its true significance is to be
true to our spiritual nature. We are spiritual beings, and
to be truly natural is to be spiritual. Any other way is
to be unnatural and abnormal. Browning expresses the
The common problem, yours, mine, and every one's,
Is— not to fancy what were fair in life
Provided it could be,— but, finding first
What may be, then find how to make it fair
Up to our means: a very different thingl
In so far as external events are concerned we are to ac-
cept with full resignation, if not with gladness, that which
is absolutely unavoidable. Our disappointments may not
be God's appointments, but they are inescapable. We
must learn how to accept defeat gracefully. This was the
124 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
method of a candidate who met overwhelming defeat.
He had posted in his office window the notice: "A $100
reward is offered for finding the man who voted for me."
Stephen A. Douglas, the unsuccessful rival of Lincoln,
said at the inauguration of Lincoln: "If I cannot be presi-
dent, I can hold the president's hat."
James G. Blaine was defeated for president in 1884.
One of his supporters, a preacher, sounded the unfortunate
slogan against the Democratic Party: Rum, Romanism,
and Rebellion. In addition to this, a rainstorm kept away
from the polls many of Blaine's farmer supporters. Blaine
said: "I feel quite serene over the results as the Lord sent
me an ass in the shape of a preacher and a rainstorm. I am
resigned to the outcome."
Our problem is to reconcile ourselves to the inevitable
and the unavoidable. You may be hedged in by limita-
tions—physical ailments that cling to you or to some
member of your family. You may be shut off from coveted
opportunities and cherished ambitions. Your plans may
be thwarted and fond desires frustrated. You may be
cribbed, cabined, and confined within a small circle. Cul-
tivate a gratitude that is able "in everything to give
thanks." By a spiritual alchemy transmute the baser metals
into gold. Your best opportunity is to do your duty where
you are, and to stay where you are if that is your duty. The
Lord said to Moses: "The place whereon thou standest is
ACCEPTING THE WORLD ORDER
You can change your own attitude, but you cannot
change the order of the universe. When Carlyle was told
that Margaret Fuller accepted the universe, he replied,
"Gad, she'd better!" The story is that, when it was reported
that Matthew Arnold had arrived in heaven, the reply
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 125
was, "Too bad. He won't like God." Discontent with
things as they are takes the form of railing against Provi-
dence and the natural order of the world. In the Rubdi-
ydt, Omar Khayyam makes the protest:
Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this Sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits— and then
Remould it nearer to the Heart's desirel
Another poet flings his defiance at God:
That not for all thy power, furled and unfurled,
For all the temples to thy glory built,
Would I incur the ignominious guilt
Of having made such men in such a world.
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia, the sister of Laertes,
is driven insane by cruelty. As Laertes listens to her rav-
ings, he cries out, "Do you see this, O God?"
Different forms of suffering result from the three factors
of natural law, the free will of man, and social solidarity.
These factors inherent in the world order carry the pos-
sibility of both good and evil. The world is not a one-way
street. We cannot have the highest good without the al-
ternative of possible evil.
ACCEPTING THE INEVITABLE
We need to make terms with the inevitable. We are
prone to discontent if our ambitions exceed our ability.
Some poet in words not so elegant has written:
If you are de tail, don't you try to wag de dog.
Pass de plate if you can't exhawt an* preach.
If yo're jes' a little pebble, don't you try to be de beach.
When a man is what he isn't, den he isn't what he is;
An' sure as I'm a-talkin, he's a-gwine to get his.
126 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
We are to recognize our limitations and also our ca-
pability. Limitation in one direction does not mean total
disability. Do not bother about what you do not have
when you can use what you have. Learn how to accept
with gladness the inevitable. "If the Lord sends rain, then
rain is my choice." You may be in a quandary as to the
possibility of one of two positions; so make as your choice
the one that comes to you. If you do not receive some
promotion which you thought might be conferred upon
you, then rejoice that you did not and confidently believe
that matters turned out the best for you.
As expressive of my own attitude, I may add a personal
word and say that I have learned to maintain my poise
whenever I come to the forks of the road. The road on
which I find myself traveling becomes my choice; and thus
far, when I have seemed to be approaching a blind alley,
it has opened up into a thoroughfare.
While "accepting ourselves" expresses a true principle,
yet there is doubtless suggested to the reader a need of
some modification. Invariably as we pursue a proposition,
the inescapable paradox arises. We are not to be content
with what we are. There is a contentment that arrests all
progress, whether intellectual or spiritual. The same great
spiritual leader who had learned to be content also said:
"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are
before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus." Paul was content as to his
external circumstances, but was urged on by a divine dis-
content to higher spiritual attainments.
AVOIDING A FALSE RESIGNATION
We are not to construe the acceptance of the inevitable
as involving a kind of fatalism. We should not accept as
unavoidable that which should not be and which need not
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 127
be. We are not to resign ourselves to wrong social con-
ditions, but we are to wage ceaseless warfare against that
which hurts human life. The words of Jesus, "The poor
always ye have with you," have been interpreted in rigid
In the warning to the rich concerning the camel and the
needle's eye, the eye of the needle has been so enlarged
that the camel can go through, hump and all. Some of the
privileged have preached that poverty produces piety, but
they want the experience worked on others. They endeavor
to comfort the poor by placing emphasis on the future
interests in heaven, but their real concern is for vested in-
terests on earth. The platitudes in praise of poverty fall on
the ear with a hollow and hypocritical sound. Things may
be all awry in this present world; you may suffer injustice;
the good things of life may be inequitably distributed;
but all of that is due to the inscrutable providence of God.
Never mind; above all, do not meddle with the problem.
It will all come right in another world. If you cannot have a
piano on earth, you will have a harp in heaven. Endure for
a while with patient resignation. The discipline is good
for the soul, and you will get your reward beyond. But
this answer no longer satisfies. The demand is for justice
here and now. The suffering from inhumanity and injustice
can no longer be construed as the divine chastening for
the discipline of the soul.
The promise of heaven is not to be used as an opiate for
the consolation of the poor. The gospel was never intended
as a dope to quiet the pangs of pain when the cause should
be removed. We have no moral right to be resigned to
social and economic wrongs. It is our business to help
remove the unnecessary sufferings of life. It is a false in-
terpretation of life and blasphemy against God to say that
it is his will. We are to wage a truceless warfare against the
oppression of the weak. Religion and revivals of religion
128 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
were never intended for resignation results. There are
the "high-ups" who are very anxious that the "low-downs"
get religion with the hope that the low-downs will be
more contented with their lot.
CAPITALIZING THE HANDICAP
We have a long roll of brave souls who accepted without
resentment the difficulties that beset them. They refused
to surrender to defeat and triumphed over disadvantages.
Only a very few instances of an exhaustless number may
be mentioned. Regardless of one's political affiliation, the
victory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt over a serious handi-
cap calls forth admiration. In 1921, when thirty-nine years
of age, he was suddenly stricken with infantile paralysis.
The supposition of politicians was that his affliction had
removed any political possibility. But in twelve years after
he was stricken he was inaugurated as the thirty-second
president of the United States.
Helen Keller became blind, deaf, and dumb after a
severe illness when two years of age. She learned to read
by the Braille system, and graduated with honors from
Radcliffe College in 1904. She became a well-known lec-
turer and writer. She is the author of a number of volumes,
among which are Optimism and Out of the Dark.
An impressive and less conspicuous example of turning
a "handicap into a halo" is given by Dr. Clarence W. Hall
in the Christian Advocate. Evelyn Harrala was born with
neither hands nor feet. For ten years she tottered around
her father's farm on the stumps of her legs. She became an
honor student at Hamline University and is an active
worker at Simpson Methodist Church in Minneapolis.
She is a musician in much demand for concerts. Evelyn
Harrala modestly says: "Many persons more handicapped
than I have made good, and some of them have not had
the chances I have had."
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 129
No particular illustration may open up a way out of
difficulties for others. Instances could be multiplied in
which people on sickbeds have made themselves highly
useful. The one thing to be desired is the purpose to per-
sist. If you have some handicap, you are to find in your
own way some work which will prove helpful and which
will relieve you of the tedium of life. You can turn your ob-
stacles into steppingstones. We are on the road to happiness
not only when we accept ourselves as we are, but when
we accept the happenings of life as they are.
Fanny J. Crosby, many of whose hymns are familiar to
all worshipers, became blind at six weeks of age. She
testified: "I am the happiest soul living. If I had not been
deprived of my sight, I would never have received so good
an education, nor cultivated so fine a memory, nor have
been able to do good to so many people."
Great souls in suffering have not complained, though
fettered by fate and cribbed and cabined by hard circum-
stances. Victor Hugo, banished from France by Napoleon,
turned his exile into the opportunity for his greatest
literary achievement, the writing of Les Miserahles. Jona-
than Edwards was pastor at Northampton, Massachusetts,
for twenty-three years. As a result of a controversy in his
church, he was dismissed by a vote of the congregation.
The outlook was gloomy with a wife and ten children. He
went to a smaller church at Stockbridge. He turned his
disappointment into intellectual activity and wrote his
notable volume on Freedom of the Will. He was soon
recognized as the leading thinker of his age and became
president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton.
The heroic spirits have refused to surrender to defeat or
despair. They have verified the prophetic promise: "I will
give . . . the valley of Achor [trouble] for a door of hope."
William Wilberforce was such a sufferer that he had to
take opium to assuage the pain. In spite of his handicap,
130 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
he carried on a relentless fight against the slave trade.
Robert Louis Stevenson never saw a well day, but he re-
fused to mope and left to the world a rich legacy of literary
productions. Charles Lamb had an insane sister who killed
their mother. Lamb gave up marriage, patiently brought
his sister back to sanity, and gave to the world some rare
gems of literature. General William Booth was informed
that he was going blind. He said to his son Bramwell: "I
have done what I could for God and the people with two
eyes. Now I will do what I can for God and the people
without eyes." George Matheson, the Scotch preacher,
practically blind throughout his adult life, revealed that
it was at a time when he was alone in darkness and desola-
tion of spirit that he wrote the lines:
Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
1 give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
Take out of the world the priceless values which were
left by the long line of brave spirits who turned tragedies
into triumphs, and the world would be too poor to live in.
They are the world's great altar stairs,
That slope through darkness up to God.
It needs to be added that the triumph of heroic spirits
over obstacles should not lead us to underestimate the
importance of physical well-being. The average individual
cannot achieve happiness if beset by disease and pain.
For when the body's sick and ill at ease
The mind doth often share in the disease.
The familiar ideal is "a sound mind in a sound body." It is
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 131
our obligation to comply with all the requirements for
good health. In so far as the record goes, Jesus is portrayed
as having a body free from sickness.
Robert Browning wrote:
To man, propose this test—
Thy body at its best,
How far can that project thy soul on its lone way?
Health contributes to happiness, and happiness in turn
contributes to health. But our point of emphasis is that,
however unfortunate and inevitable are the physical ills,
the heroic spirits have maintained a happiness of mind
and a serenity of spirit. Through no fault of theirs, they
are often the victims of painful and incurable maladies.
Paul retained an abiding joy despite his "thorn in the
flesh." He accepted the inevitable without complaining or
Beethoven suffered from rheumatism, indigestion, weak
eyes, dropsy, and was never in good health. In his thirty-
second year he began to lose his hearing, and eventually
could not hear the music he composed. He wrote, "Poor
Beethoven, there is no external happiness for your soul.
You must create your own happiness." He became totally
deaf, but applied himself to his music to the last. He died
when fifty-seven years old and said with his last breath, "I
shall hear in heaven."
William Cowper suffered two attacks of insanity. In his
melancholia he thought that he was not one of the elect.
He continued to write hymns. Some of the best-known are:
"Sometimes a Light Surprises," "God Moves in a Mys-
terious Way," "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,"
and "O for a Closer Walk with God."
Henry Drummond suffered a most painful malady. In
his suffering he retained his good cheer and said, "How
suddenly the water deepens, sometimes in one's life. Well
132 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
I suppose it must be better this Heeper sea than the shal-
lows where the children play."
Sir Walter Scott had an attack of infantile paralysis when
eighteen months old. He accepted his physical handicap
without bitterness. If he had not been a cripple, he would
have been a soldier with a great loss to the world. He
was the author of two hundred volumes. Calamity fol-
lowed calamity. The bulk of his fortune was swept away
by the failure of a publishing house. He lost by death his
favorite grandson. His wife had an incurable disease. In
his diary were two lines from Shakespeare's King Henry
Are these things then necessities?
Then let us face them like necessities.
It is this willing and heroic acceptance of the inevitable
that turns tragedy into triumph. We turn back to Paul
for the highest manifestation of the heroic spirit. He
prayed to be delivered from "the thorn in the flesh," but
the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness." He ceased
groaning and began glorying. He wrote to the Philippians:
"I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
content. I know both how to be abased, and know how to
abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed
both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which
Georgia Harkness wrote: "It is in the triumphant ac-
ceptance of life's inevitables that our Christian faith has
its most visible testing." The prayer of a Negro as quoted
by Harry Emerson Fosdick was, "O Lord, help me to
understand that you ain't gwine to let nothing come my
way that you and me together can't handle." We are to
do what we can and leave with God that which is beyond
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 133
"THE WORST TURNS THE BEST TO THE BRAVE"
To resign one's self to a calamity is much easier ideal-
ized than practiced. It is the way to happiness and use-
fulness. Henry Fawcett, a young Englishman, was hunt-
ing with his father. In shooting at a bird the father hit
his son, putting out both eyes. Henry Fawcett said, "I
made up my mind within ten minutes of the accident to
stick to my main purpose so far as in me lay." He worked
his way through Cambridge University and was made pro-
fessor of political economy. He became postmaster gen-
eral of England and devised the system of parcel post,
afterward introduced into America.
Dr. John Benjamin Magee, president of Cornell Col-
lege, related out of his own knowledge the incident of a
hero whom he did not name. The man had prepared him-
self as a doctor. When he was ready to begin practice, he
was taken sick and was paralyzed from his shoulders down.
Only his head and arms were still alive. He courageously
faced the inevitable. He kept a mirror through which he
looked at the world outside his window. With two tele-
phones by his bed he conducted his business. He edited a
newspaper column called the "Sunshine Column." He
called up the sick and hurt and underprivileged. He dis-
pensed laughter and good will from his couch of weak-
ness. For twenty years he carried on despite his severe
handicap. Dr. Magee added:
When we buried him the service was held in the largest hall
available. Hundreds came to look upon his face. And as the
long line of mourners filed by, guided by the police, there came
people in wheel chairs, cripples on crutches, helpless ones
who had to be carried. It was such a testimony of loss and
blessing as I had never seen before or since.
Self-acceptance means that we do not indulge in a use-
less resentment over what has happened to us. However
134 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
unfortunate the circumstances, they have come, and you
are not to protest against the inevitable. You are to strive
to transform adversity into victory. We can meet an unfor-
tunate situation bravely and afford encouragement to all
who are handicapped. The lesson that needs to be empha-
sized is not solely one of encouragement to those who are
fettered by hard conditions. But the triumph of the sorely
afflicted over difficulties should put to shame the people
who are not physically handicapped, but who lead aimless
and useless lives.
When we whine over our own troubles, we only augment
our unhappiness and make other people more miserable.
To accept ourselves as we are is a primary condition of
personal happiness and progress. Noah in The Green
Pastures said, "I aint very much, but I'se all I got."
Aspiration in excess of ability may create such a tension
between the ideal and the real possibility as to make life
gloomy and hopeless. This discrepancy between aspira-
tion and ability may result in discouragement and a sense
of defeat. As has been noted, men are endowed with an
inequality of talents as indicated by Jesus in the parable.
That which Jesus calls for is a faithful use of our ability,
whether it be great or small. The man who made use of
his two talents received the same rich reward as the man
with five talents: "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
If the servant with only one talent had made faithful
use of it, he would have received the reward of joy as the
two other servants. The one talented servant was not con-
demned because he did not accomplish great things, but
because he did not do what was within his power. It is
not how much a man has, but the fact of his faithfulness
that is the test of character. The one-talented man is prone
to become disgruntled because he does not possess as great
gifts as others. If we possess only one talent, we have no
just cause for complaining of our limitations when we
ACCEPTING OURSELVES 135
do not make use of the gifts which are ours. No matter
how limited is your ability, take what you have and use
it. Accept yourself as you are. This is the road to success
and happiness, and the way that leads to eternal joy.
There are diversities of gifts and differences in talents.
"One star differeth from another star in glory." We are
to accept ourselves as we are. We are to reconcile ourselves
to our limitations and harmonize ourselves with our cir-
cumstances. The faithful spirit is unconquerable, and
victory is in our grasp.
If only we strive to be good and true,
To each of us, there will come an hour,
When the tree of life will burst into flower
And rain at our feet the glorious dower
Of something better than ever we knew.
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR
A sense of humor is one of the faculties God has planted
within us to save us from going mad or becoming pomp-
ous and conceited. It has probably done more to maintain
the mental balance of persons under strain than any other
factor. Since humor is a necessary element of human
nature, it must belong to God. The business of living is
much too serious to be taken solemnly. When the tension
of life is tight, and we are all tied up in knots, a hearty
laugh lightens the strain and lifts the load.
You may have humor without happiness, but you can
hardly have happiness without humor. Man is the only
animal who laughs and weeps, who detects the incon-
gruous, and who is able to compare things as they are
with what they should be. In cases of insanity, humor is
utterly lacking. Humor makes for sanity and health and
religion. It allays hostility and oils the machinery of
HUMOR WINS WHERE LOGIC FAILS
You may present a cause with flawless logic and yet lose
out through a lack of the saving sense of humor. Dr. George
A. Gordon, the revered pastor of the New Old South
Church, Boston, related this incident of the American
Board of the Congregational Church. The board was
involved with extreme zeal and heated fervor in a dis-
cussion of probation after death. There was a "holy rage"
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 137
on the part of both sides, which seemed ready to disinte-
grate the old organization. It was then that Dr. Parker of
Hartford sprang into the debate with a mirthful story.
"Last evening in front of this very hall in which we are
now gathered," he said, "two men were talking. One ad-
dressed the other by saying: 'These religious people have
jewed us out of our fun on Sunday. They have jewed us
out of our liquor, and I'm blamed if this American Board
ain't talking about prohibition after death.' " The writer
states that the effect was "a thunderstorm of applause and
laughter, continuing, it seemed, for minutes and recurring
again and again. There were a few more serious speeches,
but the end was evidently nigh." Dr. Gordon said: "The
work had been done, not by logic, but by laughter, in-
spired by him, I cannot doubt, of whom it is written, 'He
that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.' "
No great personality who has been devoid of humor has
ever put over successfully a profound truth which has lifted
society to higher levels. The great leaders in the religious,
the political, the philosophical, and the scientific realms
have seasoned their reasoning with humor. Through the
use of humor they have put their hearers in a receptive
mood and won out in their argument. Through humor
they have punctured fallacy.
THE HUMOR OF JESUS
The record is that twice Jesus wept, and no mention is
made of his laughter. The natural inference is that his
laughter was not an exceptional occurrence. His humor
doubtless created a ripple of laughter among his hearers.
Jesus was making use of humor when he said, "If the
blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." "Ye
. . . strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!" "And why
beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" We are
138 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
sure that, if Jesus had not been merry-hearted, he would
not have attracted the children as he did.
He who jested about a great camel trying to scrunch
through a needle's eye must have had a keen sense of the
comical. We can see the responsive smile break across the
faces of his listeners as he ridicules degenerate principles
of conduct that new ideals might gain headway.
Jesus' appeal was largely to the common people, who
gave him a hearty hearing and a large following. If he had
been solemn and gloomy, he would not have attracted
such numbers. We are left to imagine the twinkle in his
eye, the smile that lit up his face, and the tone of his
voice as he dramatized the stories he told.
In Jesus, humor was associated with serious matters.
The Pharisees accused him of ignoring traditional cus-
toms. He answered with two illustrations: One is of a
woman who used an unshrunken piece of cloth to patch
a trouser seat. When it was washed for the first time, the
patch shrank and pulled away, leaving a larger hole than
before. One can imagine the laughter in the household as
the woman held up the trousers and saw her mistake.
The other humorous illustration is the picture of a
man who filled with new wine a wine skin already
stretched to its limit. The juice began to ferment, and
suddenly there was an explosion as the wine skin burst.
Only one who had laughed at such a picture himself
would use it, and there were some in his audience who
got the point more quickly because of the humor.
You can hardly name a stalwart and dynamic person-
ality who did not possess in a large measure the saving
salt of humor. Abraham Lincoln at once comes to mind.
His humor was typically American, as when he said of
one of the arguments of Douglas: "It is as thin as homeo-
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 139
pathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a
pigeon that had been starved to death." When the burden
of the nation's sorrow rested upon his soul, he said: "If
what I feel were equally distributed to the whole of the
human family, there would not be one cheerful person
in all the earth." He once remarked to surrounding of-
ficials: "Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful
strain I should die without laughter."
Two Quaker ladies were discussing the prospective out-
come of the Civil War. One said that she thought Jeffer-
son Davis would win because he was a praying man. The
other lady said that Abraham Lincoln was also a praying
man. The first replied, "Yes, but he is so given to jokes
that the Lord will not know whether or not he is in earnest
when he prays."
Henry Ward Beecher possessed humor to a marked de-
gree. He said, "Blessed is the man that has a sense of the
humorous. He has that which is worth more than money."
Once when he was in the midst of an impassioned passage,
a drunken man in the balcony waved his arms and crowed
like a rooster. Beecher stopped, took out his watch, and
remarked: "What, morning already? I wouldn't have be-
lieved it, but the instincts of the lower animal are in-
fallible." The crowd roared; the orator caught up the
threads of his discourse and went on as if nothing had
Again, in England, when he was addressing an audience
sympathetic to the South, a heckler shouted, "I thought
you said you of the North would whip the South in six
months. Why haven't you done it?"
Beecher shouted back above the tumult, "Because we
are fighting Americans, not Britishers."
And again the audience expressed its appreciation. On
another occasion in this country, after he had said in a
speech to a vast audience, "The voice of the people is the
140 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
voice of God," from the gallery a man shrilled, "The voice
of the people is the voice of a fool."
Beecher replied, "I said the voice of the people, not the
voice of one man."
Beecher was never caught off guard.
One of the most noted of American humorists was
Mark Twain. His humor did not produce happiness for
himself but doubtless relieved much of his gloom.
Exaggeration is an American type of humor. Much of
Mark Twain's work is made up of wild exaggeration. At
his seventy-fifth birthday dinner someone asked Mr.
Clemens to tell why it was that he had lived so long and
appeared in such excellent health. He replied:
I have a few little rules that are good for me. They may not
be good for anybody else, but they fit me. When I eat any-
thing that disagrees with me, I keep on eating it till one or
the other of us gets the best of it. I never smoke— more than
one cigar at a time. I never drink— by myself. I never go to bed
—as long as there is anybody to sit up with. I never get up
until I have to. And I never did a lick of work in my life.
He published his Joan of Arc anonymously because, his
chief reputation being as a humorist, he believed that the
public would not take his work seriously.
William J. Bryan, the great Commoner, enlivened his
political campaigns with humorous stories. Fiercely at-
tacked by Republican speakers, the Commoner in rebut-
tal said that some years ago a celebrity had returned to his
alma mater, a small college in the west. After a speech in
the chapel by the visitor, the president of the institution
inquired if he would like to visit the room he had occupied
while a student. The celebrity said he would be delighted
to do so; and the two men crossed the campus to the old
dormitory, climbed to the second floor, and knocked at
the door of the room. Now it happened that the present
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 141
occupant of that room was digging out his Latin with the
help of a fair coed— a violation of the rule that forbade
girls to visit the boys' dormitory. The boy, suspecting that
this caller might be a faculty member, told the girl to step
into a convenient closet. This she promptly did, and the
student answered the knock. The president presented his
distinguished guest and explained the nature of the call.
The celebrity looked around the room and smilingly re-
marked, "The same old table, the same old chairs." He
went to the window and looked out, "Yes, and the same
old tree." He turned about, "And the same old closet, into
which I should like to peep." When he opened the door,
he saw the coed and exclaimed, "And the same old girl!"
The student spoke up, "Yes, my sister, sir."
"And the same old lie," rejoined the celebrity.
"Now," concluded Bryan, "my Republican friends are
at it again telling the same old lies about me."
Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Artemus Ward, Will Rogers,
and other noted humorists have contributed to the health
and happiness of people.
Will Rogers had his chuckle— even when he went to
church— and the dear old preacher, bald as a billiard ball,
took for his text, "The hairs of your heads are numbered."
There was no acid in his humor— it was just pure fun.
He made us laugh hard because he laughed with us, not
at us. He said, "I've poked fun at all the big men of my
time, but I never met a man I didn't like." When a charm-
ing woman chided him, "You don't remember me," he
replied, "Why, my dear lady, I have been trying to forget
you so I could go on with my life." His humor never left
"Wit comes from the brain, humor from the heart." It
was pure wit when someone said of an endless talker that
he had "occasional brilliant flashes of silence." That was
142 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
pure wit when Dean Inge remarked, "A man who can
hold his tongue can hold anything, even a bishopric."
Humor is a social and political balance wheel. It
punctures all shams and humbugs. It has been well said
that "a man is ridiculous not so much for what he is as
for pretending to be what he is not." Humor helps us to
see ourselves as we really are; and so it may be even a
means of grace enabling us the better to obey the injunc-
tion "not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we]
ought to think."
Each generation should have at least one gadfly to sting
it into sanity. Such a gadfly was Dean Swift, and in our
day Dean Inge. This "social ragging" has been the salt
of English political life. In Hyde Park agitators are
laughed down when advocating absurdities.
Humor keeps religion wholesome. Fanatics in religion
are always devoid of humor. Has laughter any place or
part in true religion? Our grandfathers did not think that
faith and fun ever mixed. They seemed to think that,
if a thing was enjoyable, it was wrong. In the third edition
of Cruden's Concordance of the Bible, 1769, we read: "To
laugh is to be merry in a sinful manner." There was no
laughter in their liturgy— to smile was near akin to a sin.
George Eliot wrote an essay entitled, "Can a True
Christian Consistently Smile?" It was satire, but there was
much in the thinking of her day to justify her jibe at a
joyless religion. No doubt, in our reaction against a re-
pressive religion, we have gone too far. In refusing to be
solemn, we often fail to be serious; but at least we see i
that the two are not always the same.
A BISHOP AND AN EVANGELIST
Bishop Warren A. Candler eased the heavy burdens of :
his own life and brought good cheer to others with his
abounding humor. He was at his best when presiding over
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 143
a Conference session. Often his humor was a keen thrust
at those whom he regarded as wise only in their own con-
ceit. He said that the miracle of Balaam's time was an ass
talking, and the miracle of our day would be to stop asses
from talking. The bishop assured an audience that God
did not strike people dead for lying in our day as in the
day of Ananias and Sapphira. He then added: "If God
should do that today, where would I be? I would be
standing up here talking to a lot of corpses." His expla-
nation for not playing golf was that because of his avoir-
dupois, if he could see the ball, he was too far away to hit
it, and if he was close enough to hit it, he could not see
On one occasion a somewhat consequential layman in-
quired, "Bishop, why is it we have so many poor, good-
The bishop replied, "Well, I don't know unless it is be-
cause of the sort of laymen we have to make them out
of." For the most part Bishop Candler made use of humor
to drive home some truth. In reply to those who advocated
withholding money from the common schools of Georgia
because the Negroes got some of it, the bishop said: "We
are in danger of the folly of the man who in order to freeze
his dog to death went out in the cold and held the dog
until he himself was dead, while the dog survived."
Sam P. Jones was the outstanding humorist of his day.
The Hon. Thomas E. Watson pronounced him the great-
est genius of Georgia in his own generation, or possibly in
any generation. No man with a heart so tender ever dealt
in language so strong. He made use of the rough terms
"scoundrel," "fool," "lying rascal," "red-nosed devil," and
"the hit dog howls." He said: "If I hew to the line and
let the chips fall where they will, the people say, 'Oh, Sam
Jones said it; he can say anything.' Well, now, if I can say
anything and if I am the only one who can, then I think
144 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
I ought to keep at it all the time." "I photograph your
ugliness, and you sit there and laugh at it. You ought to
be ashamed." "If any of you don't like the way these
services are going, there are three doors; you can just rack
out." "You may not like my grammar. I am trying to get
my style and grammar down to your level." "When I
first started out, I was afraid I would hurt somebody's
feelings— Now I'm afraid I won't. If any man don't like
what I say, let him come up to me afterward and say so;
and I'll forgive him."
In one of Sam Jones's meetings in Nashville, in common
with other students I was a regular attendant at his
services. The theological students relished the courage
with which he tackled the leading political figures. He
had criticized the pardoning record of Bob Taylor, then
governor of Tennessee, and the governor crossed swords
with him in the public press. Jones came back with the
story of the little dog who in front of a locomotive was
defying its approach, and he concluded with a twinkle,
"That dog was ever afterward a sadder and wiser bobtailer
dog." Sam Jones held complete mastery over an audience,
and his audience caught the contagion of his good humor.
"Everything they say about me helps me. If they lie
about me, I'm so glad it's a lie I can't get mad. If they tell
the truth about me, I'm so sorry I can't get mad. So I always
keep in a good humor." "I can somehow stand to be
swallowed by a whale, but to be nibbled to death by min-
nows is awful; and now that the terrapins begin to bite, it is
time to wind up the line and quit." Much of his philos-
ophy is summed up in one closing quotation, "I'll tell you
how I've stood all I've been through. I'm always in a good
humor. I believe that fun is the next best thing to re-
ligion; and if religion can't triumph over temperament,
it ain't much account."
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 145
The form of humor arising out of mixed metaphors is
never intentional on the part of the speaker or the writer.
A speaker in behalf of the poor declared that thousands
were grinding their faces in the dust of poverty and at
the same time were trying to keep their heads above the
A preacher said: "We often pursue the shadow until
the bubble bursts and leaves nothing but ashes in our
hands." Another declared that the report of something or
other about which he was being eloquent would "re-echo
in golden letters along the corridors of the river of time."
Another mixer admonished his hearers to make hay while
the pot boiled. Still another official said to the town coun-
cil: "I do not want the council members to get their fingers
burned with a white elephant." The keynote speaker at
the Democratic Convention in Chicago contended that
"the juggernaut has laid its hand upon the country's
neck." A congressman once exclaimed in debate, "Mr.
Speaker: I smell a rat. I see it floating in the air, but I
shall nip it in the bud."
Huey Long exclaimed: "You can spur a horse so long,
but finally the ship of state will sink."
The dean of a college was warned that a certain course
would give the institution a black eye. Then he declared,
"We will just have to like our black eye and swallow it."
A man was addressing the annual meeting of a church
society some months ago and said: "I must confess, ladies
and gentlemen, that our work is only in its early stages.
But I do claim that we have driven in the thin edge of
the wedge and devoutly hope that ere long we shall leaven
the whole lump and see our endeavors bearing fruit a
In connection with a report at the Methodist General
146 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Conference of 1940 concerning the General Conference
expense fund, a member of the Conference exclaimed in
impassioned tones: "If they don't stop shearing the wool
off the sheep that lays the golden egg, they're going to
pump it dry!"
The Negro preacher said, "Preaching to some of you
people, it's like pouring water on a duck's back. It goes in
at one ear and out at the other."
The typical politician sits astride the top rail of the fence
and trims his sails to the wind, with one eye on the main
chance and one ear on the ground.
Another type of humor consists in irrelevancy or in-
congruity. You can make a statement perfectly irrelevant
to what has gone before, and it will sound very funny.
For instance, Artemus Ward said: "I used to know a man
in Utah who had lost all his teeth— he didn't have a tooth
in his head, a perfectly toothless man; but he could beat
a bass drum as well as any man I ever saw." The matter-
of-fact person will say: "I don't see what his lack of teeth
has to do with his beating the bass drum." That's the
source of the humor— the irrelevancy.
It so happened that I was once the chief actor in an in-
congruous situation. I was a guest preacher at the First
Methodist Church, Houston, Texas. I was just seated in
the speaker's chair when a lady came out in front of me
and extended her hand. With my natural gallantry, I
arose and clasped her hand. With flushed cheeks she said,
"I am directing the choir." Thinking rapidly for one time
in my life, I held her hand and remarked on the large
congregation and the fine choir. The audience supposed
that we were old-time friends. If I had collapsed in con-
fusion, the audience would have given way to merriment.
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 147
JOKES-OLD AND NEW
Whatever trouble Adam had,
No man in days of yore
Could say, when Adam cracked a joke,
"I've heard that one before."
But we should not object to a joke because it is old.
It's venerableness entitles it to respect, and some jokes
are actually new. Then, as a matter of fact, a joke renews
it's youth every seven years. The courteous consideration
must be kept in mind that no gentleman has ever heard
a joke before. Henry Grady, the matchless southern
orator, spiced his speeches with jokes. Even in his epoch-
making oration before the New England Society of New
York he had the temerity to tell this story— a story that
still bobs up from time to time:
There was once an old preacher who told some boys of the
Bible lesson he was going to read in the morning. The boys,
finding the place, glued together the connecting pages. The
next morning he read on the bottom of one page: "When
Noah was one hundred and twenty years old, he took unto
himself a wife who was"— then turning the page— "one hun-
dred forty cubits long, forty cubits wide, built of gopher
wood, and covered with pitch inside and out." The old
preacher was naturally puzzled at this. He read it again,
verified it, and then said, "My friends, this is the first time I
ever met this in the Bible, but I accept this as an evidence
of the assertion that we are fearfully and wonderfully made."
A chaplain reported one of the soldiers as the most dif-
ficult man in the army camp, surly and odd. Dick Sheppard
was invited to the camp. He talked with this particular
soldier and left him smiling. The chaplain inquired, "Dr.
Sheppard, how did you approach that man? I have not
been able to get near him in six months."
148 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Sheppard said, "Oh, I asked after his mother and told
him two or three funny stories."
A British editor made the observation that during the
fearful bombing of London the morale of the people was
sustained by faith and a sense of humor. We are in need
of relaxation because life is so tense and so serious and
so crowded with calamities that, if we brood over them,
we are liable to break under the strain. My objection to
some very solemn brethren is not that they regard life as
a very serious affair, for life is tremendously serious and
at times tragical. My objection is that they take themselves
There are people who see ten reasons for sobbing where
they discern one cause for rejoicing. It should not be so
with the Christian. If he is a son of God and joint heir
with Jesus Christ, the smiles ought to chase away the
frowns. There should be a chair of humor in our schools
and colleges, and especially in our theological seminaries.
In what other way can you deal with a person who struts?
In what other way can you puncture pomposity? In what
better way can you penetrate the thick hide of a snob?
In what better way can you help the person who takes
himself too seriously? You are to take life seriously; life
is a serious affair; but you can take yourself too seriously.
A saving sense of humor will prevent you from becom-
ing gloomy, grouchy, and grumpy. In looking beyond
time, we are convinced that something would be lacking
in the happiness of the future life if the element of humor
were excluded. The fact that humor entered into the
mental life of Jesus would indicate that it will continue in
the next world; otherwise, there would be a real loss of
human values. Why should we consider solemnity as the
distinctive feature of the blessed immortal? There are not
a few who in this present life seem to be preparing them-
selves for a smileless eternity to which they look forward
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 149
by banishing all gaiety from their countenances and all
joyousness from their hearts.
A NOTE OF WARNING
We should not have our pleasantry at the expense of
another's pain. The best mirth "gives a side-ache to every-
body and a heartache to nobody." "As the crackling of
thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool." Jesus
rebukes those who make a jest of life and turn the most
serious matters into a joke: "Woe unto you that laugh
now! for ye shall mourn and weep."
The warning has been sounded that we are in danger
of becoming a nation of clowns. A dash of Tabasco sauce
in soup is appetizing, but a spoonful is torture. Even when
a man's purpose is serious, his humor may prove to be
a handicap. It has been said that the only thing which kept
Benjamin Franklin from writing the Declaration of Inde-
pendence was the fear that he might slip a few jokes in it.
It is said that Tom Reed, speaker of the House of Repre-
sentatives, was disqualified as a serious presidential pos-
sibility by a reputation for too-great wit and humor. Tom
Corwin said the way to succeed in politics was "to be a
Even if one keeps his humor within bounds, he risks
paying the penalty of being accused of lacking solemnity.
He will be accused of frivolity by the pompous person who
does not have sufficient discernment even to laugh at him-
There is of course a risk to be run. People laugh with
you so long as you amuse them; but if you attempt to be
serious, they must still have their laugh, and so they laugh
at you. Humor may prevent you from attaining some de-
sired position or promotion. Sidney Smith said in speaking
of his more successful brother: "We have reversed the
laws of gravity. He has risen by his gravity, and I have
150 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
sunk by my levity." The serious-looking individual may
walk off with the honors, but a merry heart with a gift
of humor is worth far more than it costs.
We are under the necessity of being serious, but we
should not identify it with dullness. Boswell remarked to
Dr. Johnson that Sheridan was naturally dull. Johnson
said: "Yes, Sheridan is naturally dull; but he must have
attained his present state of dullness by persistent effort.
Such dullness as he now exhibits is altogether beyond
Benjamin Brierley, the English essayist, made the ob-
Too many theologians have been dyspeptic to begin with,
and their biliousness colored their doctrine. It is only a few
days since I heard the remark made concerning a well-known
professor of dogmatics and champion of orthodoxy, that if
only he were cured of his dyspepsia, it would make such a
difference in his theology.
"There is gloom enough to keep you glum; there is gleam
enough to keep you glad." Gloom or gleam, one may have
which he will for the choosing.
A TIME TO LAUGH
Many personal combats have been prevented by one or
both parties' possessing a sense of humor. If Fundamental-
ists and Modernists could meet together and exchange a
few jokes, it would go very far toward taking the "dern"
out of "Modernism" and the "dam" out of "Fundamental-
Humor and ridicule have proved effective in great re-
form movements. These forces were used by Cervantes in
Don Quixote and by Dickens and Thackeray.
Many divorces might easily be prevented if humor were
used on the verge of a quarrel. Women are apt to be more
THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR 151
intense than men. They express themselves with greater
freedom and say things on the spur of the moment that
they do not really mean. In these moments they may in-
deed be reaching out for some gesture of affection. When
husbands because of a lack of humor allow themselves to
be drawn into the same mood instead of passing over the
occasion lightly, then tragedy is likely to result. Women
are entitled to their moods, and to treat them too seriously
is only to increase the tension. When a situation is arti-
ficial, it can be neutralized by a little touch of humor.
Society must have humor. The church needs it. It helps
to oil the machinery and prevent friction. There is many
an old grouchy brother whose influence for good would be
multiplied if he only knew that laughter is divine and
In his About Ourselves— Psychology for Normal People,
H. A. Overstreet asserted that "we are led to feel that
humor, whatever it is, is a gift of the gods." Then he made
the point that we have been so accustomed to associate
humor only with jokes and funny stories that we have
overlooked the fact that it is highly important in buildin^
a strong normal human life.
Henry Rutherford Elliott wrote:
Are you worsted in a fight?
Laugh it off.
Are you cheated of your right?
Laugh it off.
Don't make tragedies of trifles,
Don't shoot butterflies with rifles-
Laugh it off.
Does your work get into kinks?
Laugh it off.
152 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Are you near all sorts of brinks?
Laugh it off.
If it's sanity you're after
There's no strategy like laughter-
Laugh it off.
THE LIMITATION OF HUMOR
The fact must be recognized that there are specters of
gloom that natural merriment cannot chase away. There
are sorrows too deep and difficulties too hard for humor
ever to remove. Some of our greatest humorists have been
the saddest of mortals.
Charles Matthews was said to be the greatest English
comedian of his day. He could make the great city of Lon-
don merry. Worn out in body and brain, he became a
victim of sad despair. He called on an English specialist
for treatment, exclaiming: "Doctor, what can you do for
me? I am so sad that it seems my heart will break."
The physician made a most thorough examination and
said: "My advice to you is to go and hear Charles Mat-
thews. You need to laugh; you do not need medicine. His
humor is a tonic."
The poor, nerve-racked comedian replied: "I am
Humor is a helpful ally of faith, but it is not a cure-all,
a panacea for human sorrow. The happy, radiant spirits
of the world are those with a vital faith in God. "The joy
of the Lord is [their] strength."
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD
We should strive to meet the conditions of continued
usefulness and happiness. We must avoid certain tend-
encies of the advancing years. We must reckon with com-
pensating values of old age.
THE PERILS OF OLD AGE
One tendency is to live in the past. The claim is that
the good old days were the best, and that the world is going
to the bow-wows. We are prone to place a radiant halo on
the past and to bewail the awful degeneracy of the present.
We must avoid a fixedness of opinion. An old man ob-
jected to the tractor and said, "I have spent more than
forty years studying the taste, temperament, and peculiar-
ities of the mule; and I am not going to throw all that
knowledge away for some new-fangled affair." In contrast
with this, Jonathan Edwards, after he reached old age,
said, "I am resolved to accept any new conception of the
truth, which is supported by reason and evidence, how-
ever long I may have held a different conception."
Anxiety and worry are to be avoided. We are to culti-
vate the joyful emotion. If we are to keep young while
growing old, then the glad emotions must have right of
way. Worry is a foe to the heart, to the digestion, to the
circulation, to every nerve and brain cell.
A tragedy of life is the loss of the wondering mind. We
are to retain the spirit of wonder and inquisitiveness.
154 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
"And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great
sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord
saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him."
Because Moses had retained the freshness of the wondering
mind, God could make use of him for forty years longer.
When we lose interest in the new things of the new and
marvelous present, the black border of the dead line is
already behind us. This is what Jesus means by becoming
as a little child. The topmost tragedy of human life is the
death of the child in the grown person when the instinct
of wonder has died out of life.
An increasing sense of uselessness and futility is a peril
of old age. The old man is prone to feel that he has fallen
into a state of innocuous desuetude. He complains that he
is no good to anybody and can only sit and watch the world
go by. There is also the realization— not without some
reason— that he is not afforded the opportunity of being
as useful as he might be. The aged sometimes become em-
bittered through lack of attention and are childish and
irritable. The sense of uselessness is intensified when the
poor come to a dependent old age, having laid up nothing
for a rainy day.
It is possible for the aged to resist and to overcome the
feeling of futility and to retain a joyful outlook on life.
We are to retain activity of thought and an active in-
terest in life. There has prevailed a kind of superstitious
attitude toward the Bible and what it has to say concerning
our allotted time on earth. The psalmist mentions three-
score years and ten as the normal length of life in his day.
Some people, when they reach the end of this period, think
there is nothing left but to die or else to continue a decade
longer in labor and sorrow.
At the time of his death, Dr. Charles W. Eliot, for many
years president of Harvard University and then president
emeritus, though over ninety years of age, was still one of
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD 155
the most progressive thinkers of his generation. William E.
Gladstone at the age of eighty-five was the mastermind of
the British Empire and the leading statesman of the world.
John Wesley at eighty was as busy as he had been at any
time in his life.
Professor Edward L. Thorndike said: "If I had to draw
a general conclusion, I should say that the results demon-
strate that the ability of adults to learn is very close to that
of persons from seventeen to nineteen years of age. The
ability of an old dog to learn a new trick largely depends
on the dog."
In a summary of four hundred of the most noted men of
all time, 64 per cent of the great achievements of the world
were by men over sixty; 23 per cent of the achievements
were by men between seventy and eighty; and 1 per cent
of the achievements was by those under forty.
We are to be continuously interested in worthy enter-
prises, and retain an alertness of mind. A man's age does
not depend upon his accumulated birthdays but upon the
elasticity of his spirit— the vigor of his mind. A well-known
professor of psychology tells us that "the brain does not
reach maturity until the age of fifty, and if it is properly
exercised, it may remain young at ninety."
A further peril that besets old age is the spirit of boast-
ing. Instead of a frank acknowledgment of physical in-
firmities, the person may boast that he is almost as strong
as he ever was. This leads to a failure to take proper pre-
caution against overexertion. The same kind of claim is
made as to an unabated mental vigor. Other people observe
the mental infirmity— the weakening of memory and the
constant repetition of incidents and stories. Boasting is a
sure sign of senility.
Along with the fault of boasting, the old person tends to
become increasingly garrulous. He talks at length not only
about his achievements but about his ailments, unfavorable
156 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
physical symptoms, and imaginary ills. His reminiscences
are exhaustless and exhausting. How the neighbors of
Methuselah must have suffered! It is a fortunate state of
affairs that we do not have Mr. and Mrs. Methuselah— and
a Reverend Methuselah would mistake time for eternity.
It is only fair to say that some old people avoid the dispo-
sition of excessive talkativeness.
The tendency, however, is for the old man to be in-
terested more in what he wants to tell you than in what
you are telling him. His cup is already full and running
over. He listens in a listless way to your narrative and is
impatient for you to stop so that he can start. Your nuggets
of wisdom and rarest jokes fail to register and serve only
to remind him of precious gems which he is anxious to
impart to you. He is an active talker but an inert listener.
You should be patient with the older person, for where
he is now, soon you will be. At the same time you can be
on your guard against the perils of old age.
A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
Old men face the peril of envy. We are to possess a
willingness to decrease. The advancing years remind us
that, as compared with our younger brethren, we must de-
crease and they must increase. They should not, however,
be too anxious about our decrease or decease. We do not
care that our younger brethren should sympathetically
allude to our increasing decrepitude and comment on
signs, or supposed signs, of a failing mental vigor with
irritating expressions of concern. All of this is in the
absence of the victim, but it comes to his knowledge. But
we have the unrighteous satisfaction of knowing that the
years are on their trail. Seriously, we should recognize that
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD 157
we have had our day, and we should rejoice in the promo-
tion and success of those who follow after us.
Those who are older must avoid envy of the younger
men who have come to the front. You have to look back
to see your future. If you have any clouds of glory, they
are trailing like a comet's tail behind you. Some older
preachers resent the fact that the churches prefer a younger
man. This has doubtless been carried to such an extreme
as to justify the sarcasm that churches should employ a
pediatrician as an associate for the pastor. The older
preacher may truthfully claim that he possesses superior
knowledge and experience and can preach better than
ever before. In some instances he doubtless overlooks the
fact that his mind grows stiff along with his knees. The
older man should reckon with his handicaps as compared
with the younger man. His health is more precarious. In
the midst of a pastorate he may be rendered inactive by a
paralytic or heart attack or some other old-age ailment.
Very naturally the churches prefer a vigorous and active
We should not unduly anticipate death. Cicero remarked
that no man is so old but that he expects to live another
year. We can be overpessimistic as to our continuance
Dr. William Lyon Phelps told of a visit that he made to
President Charles W. Eliot, of Harvard. Dr. Phelps said,
"I hope you will always be as courteous in the future in
permitting one to call upon you as you have been in
In reply, Dr. Eliot said: "I should like to have you call
when you are in Cambridge; but when you come again, I
may not be here."
Surprised, Dr. Phelps inquired if he were intending to
158 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Dr. Eliot replied, "Resign? No, you do not understand,
for you see I am a man sixty-six years of age."
But Dr. Eliot continued active until his ninety-second
We must win the victory over fear of old age. We are to
meet the advancing years unafraid. William Allen White
on his seventieth birthday .said, "I am not afraid of to-
morrow. I have seen yesterday, and I love today."
The fear of old age is a common fear. People begin
anxiously to study the mirror. A woman said, "Husband,
this is the sorriest mirror we ever had." It is not a question
of age, but of spirit and purpose. Emerson remarked, "We
do not count a man's years, until he has nothing else to
count." The familiar saying, "The good die young," is
profoundly true, since if the good die at all, they have to
die young. They maintain an eternal freshness of spirit.
We cannot arrest the advancing years, but we do have a
choice. We can grow old gloomily, grouchily, and grudg-
ingly; or we can grow old gladly, gratefully, and gracefully.
We can grow old cynically and cravenly, or we can grow
old cheerfully and courageously.
Old age is not so much the accumulation of years as
the acquisition of fears— not so much in gray locks as in
A very bright woman who felt the weight of the ad-
vancing years said, "Jesus suffered everything that we
suffer except old age." It may be added, however, that
Jesus can bring happiness to old age.
COMPENSATING VALUES OF OLD AGE
There is to be recognized the advantage of disadvantages.
Cicero names four reasons why old age is regarded as an
unhappy period in life.
The person is withdrawn from active employment. This,
however, is true only of physical activities. There need
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD 159
not be any let-up in intellectual pursuits, and one may
grow old learning something new.
Old age enfeebles the body. This is closely related to
the preceding item. Despite this fact, the mind may in-
crease in wisdom, and the soul may increase in goodness.
The person is deprived of certain sensual pleasures. But
these constitute a peril to character.
There is the haunting thought of the nearness of death.
Cicero adds the comforting consideration that death is
"coming to port at last after a long voyage."
Cicero states the alternative that death either extin-
guishes the soul or ushers it into the realm of happiness.
He^ftAmcally observes that, if the first alternative is true,
the skeptical philosopher will have no chance to deride
us for our faith. He further adds a disadvantage in that
old persons are neglected by those from whom they for-
merly received attention. The old Roman has something
there. The old person is responsible if he allows himself
to become fretful and ill-tempered and disagreeable. Cicero
represents Cato as saying: "Men, of course, who have no
resources in themselves for securing a good and happy life,
find every age burdensome. But those who look for all
happiness from within can never think anything bad
which nature makes inevitable!"
We who are older, however, are not convinced that it is
inevitable that we should be shut off from all opportunity.
But we are not to be sensitive, and we must avoid self-
pity. We should rather pity the unfortunate public, the
real loser, which does not have the chance to hear us. We
might say with Ruskin, "I do not wonder so much at what
people suffer as at what they lose."
Old age is prepared for a keener spiritual insight. With
increasing years we more readily discern the things that
are vital. The incidentals fall away. We lay hold of the
central verities of the faith by which men live. We see
160 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
in the calm light of experience what the major issues of
life are. There comes on an increase of the wisdom that
In old age the hollowness of worldly pomp is exposed.
We come to see how artificial is the distinction between
the so-called lower and higher positions in life. We come
to see the emptiness and vanity of all earthly honor and
The riches of Christian experience are enhanced with
the lapse of the years. Faith, hope, and love are deepened
and strengthened. The light of God's love shines brighter
E'en down to old age all my people shall prove,
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love.
It is the privilege of old age to possess a more confident
assurance of the immortal life.
For hope shall brighten days to come,
And memory gild the past!
This assurance of immortality rises above the groping
uncertainty that was expressed by Cicero on old age. The
jubilant note of certainty rings out in the words of the poet:
Because I know the spark
O God has no eclipse,
Now death and I embark
And sail into the dark.
With laughter on our lips.
Paul voices the victorious strain:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD 161
A HAPPY OLD AGE ILLUSTRATED
Old age may become the happiest period of ones entire
earthly sojourn. It is possible to retain an eagerness for
new knowledge and experience and to avoid the "fixation"
An abiding confidence in life and people should be held
to, especially a faith in young people. Cynicism should be
allowed no foothold toward the new generation. We
should freely accept the limitations which the passing
years put upon us. We should keep busy with tasks that
lead us to think of other people and their needs. We should
ever remember that God's help is a reality. Our God is
abundantly "able to do exceeding abundantly above all
we ask or think."
I shall grow old, but never lose life's zest,
Because the road's last turn will be the best.
An old age serene and bright,
And lovely as a Lapland night,
Shall lead thee to thy grave.
To be helpful, cheerful, merry-hearted is to live longer—
and is to make people want us to live longer. A few years
ago I was associated with two good friends who had
reached a happy old age, one a Methodist and one a Bap-
tist. My Methodist preacher friend, Dr. George W. Yar-
brough, wrote me:
I find it hard to believe all the hard things I hear people say
about this old world. Last Saturday I went squirrel hunting
with the little rifle given me by Dr. Young J. Allen. He hunted
with it when he was fifteen years old. I might feel old if I were
to try, but I have found out that in the realm of the spiritual
there is no such thing as age. The saddest of sights is age with
all the portholes closed and all the lights gone out. In the
meantime we will always have our Bible and devotional litera-
162 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
ture of the best type within our reach, and no grass in the path
to the mercy seat.
My Baptist friend, Dr. D. W. Key, wrote me:
"I am not counting on great strength; I will need to econo-
mize on physical expenditure. As I walk along the margin of
two worlds, I have a sort of double pleasure of happy reminis-
cences and joyous anticipations. I know whom I have be-
Dr. J. B. Cranfill, who for a long time was a prominent
figure in the Baptist churches of Texas, wrote in his eighty-
My prescription free to all of you is: if you are now old, sing
your way on into Heaven. There will be no preaching in
Heaven, and I guess some of the sleepy-headed deacons will
be awfully glad of it. So, my dear friends, hug my prescription
to your hearts, and say along with me: "Eye hath not seen, nor
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the
things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
Bishop Edwin H. Hughes addressed his Jurisdictional
Conference in Atlantic City on retiring from the active
episcopacy. His gracious and inspiring words will be
For my remaining years I seek no vacation. Having cultivated
the art of preparation and having been in love with toil, I
feel that I must not cease. Perhaps your release of me from
one kind of work may permit me to do more of another kind
of work. . . .
I have had a happy life, so very, very happy. For thirty years
the Shepherd has led me through sunshine with scarcely a
clouded sky. When I did go into the valley of the shadow,
He was with me with the comfort of the rod and staff. Now
He grants me this solemnly joyful hour with you all. I beg
KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD 163
you to continue to give me your love. I could not well live
without it— since you have made me so used to its climate.
The happiness of old age is enhanced by glad memories
of the past. But life cannot thrive on reminiscences. A
happy old age looks with faith and hope to the future.
I am done with the years that were, I am quits;
I am done with the dead and the old.
They are mines worked out; I delved in their pits;
I have saved their grains of gold.
Now I turn to the future for wine and bread;
I have bidden the past adieu.
I laugh and lift hands to the years ahead;
Come on, I am ready for you. 1
1 Edwin Markham, "Look Ahead." Reprinted by permission of Virgil
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION
It is within our power so to treasure in memory the
happy events and experiences of the past as to bring joy
to the present. The homely lines that follow are ex-
There was a dachshund, one so long
He hadn't any notion
How long it took to notify
His tail of his emotion;
And so it happened, while his eyes
Were filling with woe and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on
Because of previous gladness.
Many people have reason to be grateful for the gracious
memories which help to carry them over the dark days. Let
us thank God for any "previous gladness" that may serve
to encourage our hearts. If we are tempted, because of per-
sonal sorrows or national tribulations, to sink into the
depths of despair, the memory of better days will help
to quicken the hope which was voiced in the Negro spir-
itual: "Ev'ry day'll be Sunday by and by!" It is for memory
to lay up a rich store of blessings in early life.
THE FUNCTION OF MEMORY
The memory of life's high moments and rich experience
kindles gratitude, and the grateful heart is the happy heart.
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 165
The treasures of memory produce happiness both in this
world and in the world to come.
Memory keeps the personality intact and gives unity to
our otherwise incoherent existence. Amnesia breaks up the
unity of life. The incident is given of a shell-shocked war
veteran who appeared on a public platform with the
pathetic plea, "Can anyone tell me who I am?"
As necessary as is memory to our happiness, we are to
avoid living too exclusively in our reminiscences. The
past must not be overstressed to the neglect of the present
and future. An old story illustrates: A man had an opera-
tion to restore his memory, but he lost his eyesight. He
then had an operation to restore his eyesight, but he lost
his memory again. He became jittery and went to see the
finest surgeon he could find. After an examination, the
surgeon said, "I can perform an operation and give back
your memory, but you will lose your eyesight. Which had
you hather have?"
The man reflected only for a moment and said: "I had
rather have my eyesight. I had rather see where I am
going than to remember where I have been."
Some things we do not want to hold in memory. Memory
brings ghosts to the banquet table. Memory may be a
bane or a blessing, a curse or a joy. Happiness in life
depends on the kind of memories we have.
We must not hold in memory that which is destructive
of happiness. The motto of Paul was, "Forgetting those
things which are behind, ... I press on." A suggested
prayer is, "Lord, teach me to forget what I ought to forget,
and remember what I ought to remember."
There are memories, however, that follow on the heels
of evil and cannot be erased. Burns, the poetical genius of
Scotland, gives voice to his own experience. He wrote
these lines to a mouse which he upturned while plowing.
166 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Still thou art blest, compared wi' mel
The present only toucheth thee:
But, ochl I backward cast my ee
On prospects drearl
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fearl
THE ART OF FORGETTING
We must learn and practice the art of forgetting.
Forget the steps already trod
And onward urge thy way.
The failures of the past must be forgotten, with our mis-
takes and errors and sins and disappointments. This is not
to say that we must not cultivate the art of remembering.
The goodness and mercy of God must be treasured in
memory. Without this memory of the past, hope for the
future would die. Memory is one of the good angels of
God. "The tender grace of a day that is dead" should abide
with us. We are softened and uplifted by the memories
of other days— the memories of those whom we have
loved long since and lost awhile.
But we are specially concerned just now with forget-
ting. We must not morbidly give way to vain regrets. The
unalterable past is not only beyond human power but
beyond divine power to change. Very much of our un-
happiness arises from chafing over certain acts and choices
which are forever fixed in the past. Tennyson described
it in the almost perfect poem:
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
Oh death in life, the days that are no more.
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 167
These vain regrets are most poignant in those incidents
of life when we were forced to make a choice, when the
reasons appeared to be almost evenly balanced for either
of the two ways between which we had to choose. In some
instances we are consoled when, in the light of after events,
we feel that the choice we made was the wisest and best.
In other instances we are tantalized with the thought
that the decision which we did not make would have been
better. In a situation like this we should forget in the
realization that, since the past is irrevocable, we only
hinder our progress with regretful recollections.
"If I had done this instead of that, . . . If I had gone to
another school, ... 7/ I had settled in another location, . . .
If I had got ten years ago that job I wanted so badly, . . . If
I had chosen another vocation, ... 7/ I had made another
investment, . . ." Some even go so far as to say, "If I had
married John instead of Henry, or Sara instead of Jane,
. . ." Their lives are full of if's and might-have-beens. "If"
has no place in our lives. What is past is done, and we
cannot change it. Why waste energy bemoaning it, mak-
ing our lives miserable and bringing pain to others, when
it is much better to use that energy meeting the problems
of the present and the future? Drop "if" out of your
vocabulary once and for all. Instead of thinking in terms
of if's— conditional events— or dreaming about might-have-
beens, think in terms of actual, new, and concrete experi-
ences. "If" can and will upset your spiritual equilibrium.
After all, it is by no means certain that the other choice
would have been better. The business venture which you
think would have been successful might have resulted in
disaster. As to the matrimonial venture, it is very probably
true that you did not get your first choice, but you had
better not confess it. Then if you could see that first
choice forty years afterward, you might be led to self-
168 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Vain regrets are as useless as they are harmful, and they
paralyze the powers which make possible our future prog-
ress. Forget your mistakes and errors and failures. Do not
keep them before your eyes; but keep them as stepping-
stones under your feet, and organize victory out of defeat.
Forget the sins which God has forgiven and forgotten. He
has cast our sins into the depths of the sea. To brood over
them is as injurious as to make light of them. Cease to pry
into the sepulcher of the buried past. Forget the sins of
others against you— your enmities and alienations, old
hatreds, old prejudices, and old grudges. We need to
throw the useless trash away.
We must forget past successes, past achievements, and
past service. "Forgetting those things which are behind,
... I press on."
A past experience of religion will not avail you now.
Past service for the church and the kingdom of God is no
substitute for continued labor and sacrifice. You have not
stored up a superfluous supply of merit. I know of an old
man who said in the experience meeting, "Brethren, I
feel that the Lord ought to be mighty good to me, for I've
done a heap for the Lord." There are those who are of
very little service to the church, since they are so busy re-
counting the deeds of the past.
Church people will fling away hundreds and thousands
of dollars for show and pleasure— the parade and the pride
of life, luxury and amusement, and automobiles for
pleasure riding— and forget all about it. But when they
give a few hundred dollars to a church building or church
enterprise, if it were ten or twenty years ago, it is as fresh
in their memory as if it were today. The result is the
paralysis of the spirit and the prevention of progress.
They are much in favor of progress in their own private
financial matters but become the chronic standpatters in
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 169
A discriminating memory makes for happiness— a mem-
ory that sifts out what proves a hindrance and retains
what is helpful.
THE FUNCTION OF IMAGINATION
In contrast with memory, which derives happiness from
the past, the imagination may minister to the happiness
by projecting itself into the future. It has been pertinently
observed that in the average man the range of the senses
is the limit of the emotions. G. Stanley Hall said:
The imagination is one of the most potent of all human fac-
ulties. ... By it we escape the limits of time, space, and even
all personality that hedges us in; lives may be ever so limited,
yet by this power we can almost become citizens of all time and
spectators of all events. By it the poet, artist, and prophet
have wrought their magic in the world.
Agnosticism says: "I will accept nothing but the visible,
the tangible, the knowable. Away with probabilities: I
will have nothing but facts." Such a philosophy flings away
the part of us that dreams and hopes. Like Confucianism,
it attempts to build up, without the imagination, a sys-
tem of philosophy in which the unseen world is left out
of accounting. But imagination cannot be brushed aside;
it is so large a part of the human soul. As long as "hope
springs eternal in the human breast," so long will imagina-
tion visualize the immortal future.
Through imagination we visualize a more glorious fu-
ture in this present world. It is not an easygoing optimism
that is blind to the forces of evil, but faith in the ultimate
victory of the good. Jesus announced not only a personal
victory but the victory of humanity when he declared, "I
have overcome the world." "They that be with us are more
than they that be with them." We need a clearing of the
mental vision to enable everyone that fights on God's side
170 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
to see that he has no reason to fear, though a host should
encamp against him; for a stronger force is camping with
him. When Elijah thought that he was alone, he was told
that there were seven thousand with him. Elijah had spent
so much time in the woods and mountains and deserts that
he had grown despondent. We can excuse his fault, for it
had been dangerous for him to mingle much with men;
but in this day there can be no sort of excuse for the man
who ventures to say to God or to the world, "I am left
alone." We have as our allies an unseen army, and in this
assurance joy takes the place of a disturbing anxiety.
Through imagination we can picture the sins and de-
formities of our lives— our pride and envy and selfishness
and cowardice and hypocrisies— and thus be put on the way
toward removing the peace-destroying elements that beset
us along the way.
Through the exercise of the imagination we may bring
either misery or happiness to ourselves. Through the ex-
ercise of the imagination we may bring either happiness or
misery to other lives. How shall we treat our fellow man?
In the Golden Rule Jesus answers: "Use your imagination
to put yourself in his place and treat him as you would
like to be treated yourself." It was a unique contribution
of Jesus that he enlisted the imagination of men in the
interest of the good way of life. The cruelty with which
nations treat nations, and individuals treat individuals,
results from the absence of imagination.
We need to visualize the suffering of others from a per-
sonal perspective. A man must see a man as a neighbor
before he will treat him as a neighbor. Both evil and good
spring out of the imagination. Jesus tells us that murder
may be just an act of the imagination, and adultery is
first of all a sin of the imagination. Likewise the imagina-
tion is necessary in the realization of the highest spiritual
truths. Jesus tells us as we ask after God to use our imagi-
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 171
nation and picture him as a good Father. The psalmist
makes the same sort of appeal. "Like as a Father pitieth
his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him."
THE LIGHT OF THE AFTERTHOUGHT
An imagination that looks to the future will aid in the
mastery of temptations that would work our ruin.
We are to use imagination to give to life in the midst of
temptation and duties the light of the afterthought. The
most cruel mockery that tortures a poor wayward human
being is the passing from that deception that arrays a
prospective sin in fascinating colors to the awful and un-
veiled hideousness of vice in its aftermath. If a young girl,
face to face with the temptation to surrender the glory of
womanhood, will only turn away from the persuasive voice
long enough to project herself far enough into the future
to see the hue of passion on the cheek turned into a blister
of shame; to see herself rejected, despised, dishonored, and
cast as rubbish to the void; and to picture to herself the
unspeakable remorse and despair of a broken heart and
blasted life; she would flee with horror from the tempter
who would destroy her. Form the image of yourself and
your sin and your regret when the charm of sin has gone,
and you face only the guilt of life!
The function of spiritual imagination is to penetrate
the glitter and glare of sin's disguise and to hold before
the mind the horror and remorse that inevitably follow
in the wake of evil. When the brain grows dizzy and the
senses are charmed under the spell of a present and near
temptation, our refuge is to visualize the blow to our own
self-respect and the divine displeasure which would follow
a surrender to the temptation.
The mother of the famous artist Millet gave this counsel
to her son, "Go down and get the last day of your life and
make it always your company keeper," The wish of Moses
172 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
for Israel was, "O that . . . they would consider their latter
end!" We need in the light of the afterthought to en-
lighten our forethought. We need to visualize the final
goal toward which our present conduct is leading. We
have the power to visualize the final consequences before
crossing the black border line into the wrong deed. When
confronted by a strong desire, we have the power of rein-
forcing our will with the memory of the good things of
our past and with an imaginative forecast of the good or
evil which may be ours in the future. How different the
wrong act appears as we look back upon it. If the drunkard
could be made to see the pitiful figure he cuts when gib-
bering under the influence of alcohol, the hideous object
lesson would be more effective than the most eloquent
temperance oration. To realize through imagination the
disgust that follows the forbidden pleasure serves as a
The man with murder in his heart thinks revenge is
sweet. But when the slain enemy lies bleeding at his feet,
then follows the bitterness of remorse— the awful awakening
of the moment afterwards.
Someone has said, "We pity the victim in a great crime.
But ought we not to pity the criminal more?" A measure
of truth is contained in this exaggeration. If the malicious
man could be made to see himself as he appears when
anger has swept reason from the throne, he would struggle
more bravely to keep himself under firm control.
Nothing can be more pathetic or tragic than the moment
which follows some terrible wrong committed in one
moment's absence of self-control. There is doubtless always
a gracious moment, a moment of rescue if we will but
reckon with it, that will save us from a moral catastrophe
when hard pressed by strong and subtle temptations.
There is the saving moment when we may project our-
selves into the future and ask, "How will I wish I had
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 173
acted? What would be my choice in the light of the after-
We have the power of taking the long look and weigh-
ing the profit of tomorrow against the pleasure of today.
Our sins and follies and tragedies would be avoided if
only we would exercise a spiritual imagination to project
ourselves into the moment after. It is the visualizing of the
moment afterward, the entire life afterward, and eternity
afterward, which will assist us in achieving victory of soul
and contentment of spirit.
HAPPINESS IN THE INNER
Happiness springs out of inner attitudes. It results from
loving and from the consciousness of being loved. Un-
happiness is expressed in the desolate words, "No man
cared for my soul." The spirit of gratitude is an unfailing
source of joy. The gratitude of Jesus is voiced in, "I
thank thee, O Father." Paul was thankful not only for
the mercies of God but for the kindness of men. He passes
on his prescription of happiness, "In every thing give
thanks." The grateful person contemplates the goodness
and mercy of God, and gratitude disperses gloom. Happi-
ness is the indestructible possession of the loving and
Happiness is inward and not outward. It does not de-
pend on what we have but on what we are. This is the
message of the Beatitudes. Dr. W. R. Maltby wrote:
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised his disciples
three things— that they would be entirely fearless, that they
would be absurdly happy, and that they would get into trou-
ble. They did get into trouble and found, to their surprise,
that they were not afraid. They were absurdly happy, for they
laughed over their own troubles, and only cried over other
Since happiness was within, no outward storms could
ruffle their inner calm. This primary and major and all-
HAPPINESS IN THE INNER SPIRIT 175
inclusive condition of happiness needs to be stressed. It is a
vain search for happiness in life's externalities. Neither
life nor happiness consists in the abundance of things
which we possess. Happiness can never be found in the
multiplication of material possessions and cannot be
achieved through fame or wealth or pleasure or power or
knowledge. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye
The promise of God according to Jeremiah is, "I will
put my law in their inward parts." "Keep thy heart with
all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
When a man travels, he changes his skies but not him-
self. A man may escape everything else, but he cannot
escape himself. The heart of spiritual religion is that peace
is a state of mind.
A lady who was restless and unhappy in spite of much
wealth told her colored maid that she thought a change
of scenery was what she needed. She spoke of a place with
pleasing prospects. "I could be happy there," she said.
"No, ma'am," replied her maid, "you surely would not
be happy there, 'cause you'd have to take yourself with
you wherever you went."
A frantic, aimless pace destroys peace. Physical sensa-
tion is a poor substitute for spiritual serenity. Even if all
life were comfortably adjusted in material affairs, and even
if we had achieved social justice, and even if all people
were living together in moral decency, still there would be
a restlessness in the human soul unless these human striv-
ings of ours have some validity in an infinite purpose.
A DEFINITE GOAL
Some lives have been compared to a whirlpool— plenty
of motion, but no progress— merely going round and
round. Some lives are like a ride on a merry-go-round—
they get off where they started from.
176 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
A person went into a retail store to purchase a compass.
The clerk replied, "We have compasses for drawing circles
but not for going places." One type of instrument can
draw circles, but the other can hold a vessel true to its
course. We need the type of compass that helps us to go
Stephen Leacock's description of the man who "mounted
his horse and rode off in all directions" is pertinent. We
are told of the Scotchman who had a penchant for attend-
ing funerals just for the ride. In our chaotic life "with its
sick hurry, its divided aims," we
. . . see all sights from pole to pole,
And glance, and nod, and bustle by;
And never once possess our soul
Before we die.
This incident was related of Professor Huxley, who
was about to be late in catching a train. Thinking the
porter had stated his destination, he said to the driver,
"Drive fast." The driver laid the lash on the horse. Huxley
began to realize that he was not on the direct route to the
station. He asked, "Do you know where you are driving
The reply was, "No, your honor, but I'm driving fast."
The speedometer should not be allowed to displace the
This aimlessness is expressed in the familiar slang, "I
don't know where I'm going, but I'm on the way." With-
out a philosophy of ends, one is like the dog at the railroad
station that has eaten its tag— the dog knows, and every-
body else knows, that he is going somewhere; but nobody
I once approached a ticket agent and said, "I want a
lower berth. What is the price?"
He replied, "Are you going anywhere in particular?"
HAPPINESS IN THE INNER SPIRIT 177
To know where we are going— to have a definite goal-
makes for an inner serenity of the soul.
The declaration of Paul is: "This one thing I do, for-
getting those things which are behind, ... I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
LOOKING UNTO JESUS
There belonged to Jesus the emotion of radiant joy.
Only twice is he said to have wept: once at the grave of
Lazarus and again in his lament over Jerusalem. These
were tears from compassion, and not from a temperament
of gloom. He found enjoyment in social life. His joy was a
constant rebuke to men with tombstone faces. Beset by
persecution, he exhorted his disciples, "Be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world."
In the beginning of his ministry, he taught his disciples
that happiness was a possession of the inner spirit which
outside circumstances and forces could not destroy. Happy
are the poor in spirit. Happy are the mourners. Happy are
meek. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for goodness.
Happy are the merciful. Happy are the pure in heart.
Happy are the peacemakers. Happy are those who have
been persecuted for the sake of goodness. Rejoice and exult
in it, for your reward is riches in heaven.
Jesus lived the Beatitudes before he ever expressed
them. They were the transcript of his own inner experi-
ence. Jesus kept himself free from fear and tension, main-
taining calm strength and confidence in the face of over-
whelming odds. He went alone to the wilderness, the sea-
shore, the mountains, and there gained freedom from
physical exhaustion and mental tension, for he knew that
in solitude he could regain clear vision and restored
energy. Most of us never stop until we near the nervous
178 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
Jesus never lost sight of God. He lived day by day with
an awareness of the Invisible. He steeped his soul in the
assurance of the Old Testament: "The Lord is my shep-
herd; I shall not want." "Fret not thyself because of evil-
doers. . . . Rest in the Lord; and wait patiently for him."
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the
everlasting arms." The presence of the Father fell across
the work of his life. The most serene person who ever
walked this world lived with an intimate sense of God's
As we live in fellowship with Jesus, his promised peace
will steal into our hearts. We shall not be disturbed by
life's material externalities. It was a great saying of a
businessman following a financial failure, "Thank God, I
did not lose anything but my money." As we retain the
spiritual values our source of joy abides.
Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts!
Thou Fount of Life! Thou Light of menl
From the blest bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to thee again.
O Jesus, ever with us stay;
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away;
Shed o'er the world thy holy light!
Jesus lived with a calm in his mind and a serenity in his
soul because he never lost the sense of perspective. He
always correctly evaluated the things of the world. Emerson
said, "The supreme lesson of life is to learn what the cen-
turies say against the hours." Jesus took the long view of
life. No outward persecutions and calamities could ever
mar the inner joy of his spirit.
A vital faith in God will bring us joy in the midst of the
disappointments and sorrows of life. "Let not your heart
HAPPINESS IN THE INNER SPIRIT 179
be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me." "All
things work together for good to them that love God."
Read the Sermon on the Mount and meditate upon it
until the faith and the spirit of it seep into every crevice
and pore of your being.
Outwardly the life of Jesus was disturbed, and the storm
of opposition beat with pitiless fury upon him. Inwardly
there was a great calm, as smooth and unruffled as a sea
of glass. Tumult and tempest, tempest and tumult, broke
upon him; but nothing could disturb the quiet serenity
of his spirit. At last his worn body was laid in the grave,
but the great calm was always in the inner life. Misfortune
could not reach him, for he had no fortune. Injury to
reputation could not affect him, for he "made himself of
no reputation." Even when his enemies were hounding
him to death, he said to his own inner circle of disciples,
"Peace I leave with you." We are to have his mind of
meekness and lowliness of spirit.
The rest of Christ is the missing note in our religious
experience. The first martyr fell before a shower of stones,
and the beholders saw his face as the face of an angel.
THE SOURCES OF THE JOY OF JESUS
We are so accustomed to think of Jesus as the "Man of
Sorrows" that we fail to reckon with his abounding joy.
Deeper than his sorrows were the inexhaustible springs
of his joy— "who, for the joy that was set before him, en-
dured the cross."
What were some of the sources of the joy of Jesus?
First of all the physical vitality and strength of Jesus
contributed to the happiness of his spirit. His body was
the perfect medium for the expression of his mind and will.
Again his singleness of spiritual purpose was an un-
failing source of happiness. He performed his mission with
no divided aim. With a perfectly integrated personality
180 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
directed toward a great cause he moved with poise and
serenity toward the goal which he set before himself. No
selfish aims marred the perfect purity of his purpose.
Jesus possessed the hopeful spirit that was confident of
victory in at last attaining his supreme objective. He saw
"Satan as lightning fall from heaven." He knew that the
right was sure to win.
Jesus possessed complete harmony with the will of God.
His own prayer was: "Not my will, but thine, be done."
He taught us to pray, "Thy will be done." When the
human will is in conflict with the divine will, unhappiness
of life inevitably follows. The spirit of Jesus was radiantly
happy, and his supreme happiness finds explanation in his
words: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and
to finish his work." No suffering or persecution could
swerve him for one moment from the loving will of God.
Jesus found happiness in self-expression, since it was
the expression of the best. In his incarnation he expressed
the mind of God.
The joy of God was in expressing himself in the incar-
nate Christ. In our everyday human intercourse we find a
measure of happiness in speaking our thoughts. In a social
group, in the exchange of ideas, we are prone to make a
selfish monopoly of the conversation. It is said of Dr. Oliver
Wendell Holmes that he left his sentences unfinished in
order to avoid any interruption. Our happiness is in-
creased when we have something that is worth expressing.
By way of reiteration, happiness springs out of gratitude.
This is the very heart and hub of happiness. The grateful
heart is happy. The grateful person does not brood over
disappointments, but meditates on the mercies of God.
This is expressed by the old hymn:
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one,
HAPPINESS IN THE INNER SPIRIT 181
Count your blessings,
See what God hath done. 1
JOY DESPITE CIRCUMSTANCES
The purpose of Jesus was that his followers should be
happy despite outward circumstances. His Beatitudes sound
the keynote of happiness. He invites the weary and heavy-
laden to enter into his rest. He said to the woman who was a
sinner. "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." To all
who are disturbed by life's perplexities Jesus says, "Let
not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also
in me." In his risen appearance he said to his disciples,
"Peace be unto you." He promises a "joy no man taketh
The spirit of Paul was one of abounding joy on account
of the inner wealth of spiritual resources. His faith was
victorious over hard circumstances. When, together with
Silas, he was cast into the Philippian jail, the record is:
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises
unto God." Stoicism never sings. Agnosticism voices no
hymn of praise. The joy of Paul and Silas was a radiating
happiness. The other prisoners heard them, and the jailer
sought a salvation that could make men joyful in tribula-
tion. The injunction of Paul to the early Christians was,
"Rejoice evermore." Modern Christians are sorely in
need of this jubilant note.
Paul declared that the secret of his own happiness was in
the inner quality of his spirit, and not in outward sur-
roundings. "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased,
and I know how to abound: every where and in all things
I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to
abound and to suffer need." The jars of life, the sudden
transitions from favorable to unfavorable circumstances,
1 Copyright by Hope Publishing Co.
182 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
could not disturb the serenity of his spirit. The lines of
Whittier breathe a prayer.
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress.
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
One of my favorite hymns is by an unknown author:
O for a heart of calm repose
Amid the world's loud roar,
A life that like a river flows
Along a peaceful shore!
Come, Holy Spirit! still my heart
With gentleness divine;
Indwelling peace thou canst impart;
O make that blessing mine!
Above these scenes of storm and strife
There spreads a region fair;
Give me to live that higher life,
And breathe that heavenly air.
Come, Holy Spirit! breathe that peace,
That victory make me win;
Then shall my soul her conflict cease,
And find a heaven within.
WILLIAM PETER KING, a native of Georgia,
received his education at Emory and Vander-
bilt Universities. An ordained minister, he has
served pastorates in Missouri and Georgia. He
has also served as editor of the Wesleyan Chris-
tian Advocate, the Methodist, Quarterly Re-
view, and the Nashville Christian Advocate and
as book editor for the Methodist Episcopal
Dr. King has been a frequent contributor to
periodicals and is the author of several vol-
ADVENTTSM: THE SECOND COMING OE
RIGHT AND WRONG IN AN AGE OF
THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
' WILLIAM P. KING
A contagious happiness is to be found in the pages of this
volume. Written by a man who has found happiness in his own
life and who here offers proof that happiness is within the easy
reach of the daily lives of each of us, it discusses the elements oi
happiness and goes on to point out how we may achieve hap-
piness through the simple things of life.
Part One— The Wrong Trail
FAME, WEALTH, PLEASURE, POWER, KNOWLEDGE
Part Two— The Foes of Hap- Part Three— The Conditions
piness of Happiness
THE WORRY OF LIFE ACCEPTING OURSELVES
THE WORK OF LIFE THE SAVING SENSE OF HUMOR
THE PERPLEXED MIND KNOWING HOW TO GROW OLD
THE SELF-CENTERED LIFE MEMORY AND IMAGINATION
THE DARK SHADOW OF FEAR HAPPINESS IN THE INNER SPIRIT
Written in an easily read style and with a deep note of sobriety,
this volume will help everv reader to attain a new and continu-
ing joy and happiness in his daily life. It contains deep inspira-
tion for fuller living through chf.no eu atti'udes toward one's
work, one's fellow men, and one's Gjd.